Other Washington state timberland owners may be eyeing Rayonier's system of auctioning hunting permits, as it enters second year

LOS ANGELES , August 3, 2012 () – Rayonier Inc. is into its second year of a program of selling hunting permits for some of its Southwest Washington state timberlands, and it looks as though other timber companies could follow suit, the Longview Daily News reported on Aug. 3.

According to Scott Harris, a Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife's private lands biologist, other timber companies are interested in Rayonier's system, but are waiting until the “dust settles”.

Traditionally, private timberland owners have welcomed hunters and other recreational users to camp on their lands. But in the past decade, problems ranging from timber theft, trashing and vandalism sparked a trend of companies closing their gates to motorized vehicles for most of the year, the Daily News noted.

Although many companies allow hunters access during season, they don’t allow overnight camping so hunters are setting up camp in state and federal forests.

Under Rayonier’s permit system, camping and riding of ATVs by hunters and their non-hunting companions is allowed, the Daily News noted.

Rayonier, via its website on Wednesday, began offering 175 permits at US$265 each for its 31,000-acre Fossil Creek area in Washington’s Pacific County; according to the Daily News, all the permits were sold by the end of that day.

Rayonier is also making available 27 permits by auction to enter its 15,000-acre Salmon Creek area; as of Thursday, bids for those ranged from $75 to $800 for different permits, the Daily News reported.

Rayonier’s manager of environmental forestry in Hoquiam, Washington, Robert Meier said the permit system was very successful in 2011.

Whether or not permitting finds favor with other Washington landowners, the idea does not yet appear to be gaining traction with another timber giant, Weyerhaeuser Co. In an e-mail to the Daily News, Weyerhaeuser spokesman Anthony Chavez said it would be “business as usual for recreational access" this season on the company’s Southwest Washington lands.

The primary source of this article is the Daily News, Longview, Washington, Aug. 3, 2012.

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