Stop Excessive Weyerhaeuser Recreational Fees In Oregon
This petition had 4,189 supporters
Since Oregon became a State, it's citizens have enjoyed the outdoors from hiking to hunting, fishing, sightseeing, picking berries, mountain biking, camping and much more.
In Oregon's infancy, the timber lands that we have enjoyed were granted to the Oregon Railroad for developing jobs in the Timber Industry. As part of that agreement they were also suppose to sell off lands on both sides of the railroad to the public. That didn't happen and a scandal that involved the The State of Oregon and the railroad allowed the RR to retain the property.
It has ALWAYS been the case that Timber Companies would work with the public to allow access to this land for recreational use. In turn , ODFW implemented programs and the State rewarded them through tax deferrals and other incentives.
This past couple years, Timber Giant Weyerhauser, has implemented a permit access only fee to use their land for recreation. In some cases, Weyerhauser owns nearly all the land in some counties leaving nothing for the community to access without paying. Just a couple years ago, before the land sale to Weyco, Longview Fiber had always allowed access in some form. Before them ,Cavanham and Crown Zelerbach. Boise Cascade was another public friendly Timber Company. This affects all citizens of Oregon and is a non-partisan issue. Just recently, the Governor of Montana addressed this issue with Weyehauser after the purchase of Plum Creek Timber and as a result, an agreement was made to keep access open to all. Here in Oregon Weyerhaeuser wont even sit down with local government.
It is NOT the permit access that enables the owner to control who is on their property that is a problem, but rather the unrealistic permit cost of $300 to $500 and in some cases nearly $600 just for one month of use. They do offer NON-Vehicle access for $50 to $100 and each year they keep increasing this price. But consider the elderly, handicapped or disabled Veterans? Because of their inability to walk and hike they are forced to spend even more money because of their disability or cant afford it at all. Additionally, they allow only a small number of hunters per area making it even more difficult unless your among the wealthiest.
With the increase in state fishing and hunting fees it is nearly impossible for several families and recreational enthusiasts to afford to just go out their back door and enjoy Oregon's outdoors like they have done for generations. In fact this will drastically impact Oregon States fishing and hunting fee income as people will simply stop hunting and fishing, thus forcing higher license and tag fees and fewer and fewer people enjoying what Oregon is all about. Businesses that have depended on sportsmen will go out of business. The benefits of the outdoors that we all enjoyed growing up as children for past generations will not be available for our children and grandchildren. The Outdoors-man's demographics in this state will change forever. Yet, the timber industry benefits by lower taxes and other tax loop holes. Now they are making Millions by using this same land for recreational use and NOT logging. We need a change. Not only for how this will affect Oregon's economy, but Oregonians will lose access to resources that have been part of Oregon's heritage since the beginning.
We also would like to add that Weyerhaeuser is actively selling plots of land and real estate and building homes, slowly chipping away at forests that we do have.
1. We ask that changes be made in the tax code and remove any tax benefit that the timber industry enjoys and replace it with incentive programs for those that open their land to the public. This land is now being used as a revenue source for recreational use other than timber, generating millions of dollars from Oregon tax payers.
2. We also ask that a law be implemented that would make it illegal for private land owners to charge any fee for access to land for the purpose of taking a Game Animal, Bird or Fish that is protected under the Oregon State Wildlife Dept.. Wildlife belong to the people "The State" and should not be used for the purpose of making a profit off of a select few who can afford it, while unfairly leaving other Oregon citizens unable to participate. The Wildlife belong to all, not just land owners.
Please note that current law in Oregon Prohibits private land owners the sale of feral swine hunts. So why should it be acceptable for Weyehaeuser to charge for hunting non-evasive species?
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