The Grays Harbor County Commissioners passed an ordinance that will terminate the Current Use Timber Program and declare the land previously designated in that program as Designated Forest Land and prescribe minimum timber management plan requirements.
Commissioner Wes Cormier created the ordinance after Weyerhaeuser announced that they would start restricting public access to their land and start selling passes for the use of the land.
Cormier also amended his ordinance to help protect small forest landowners by disqualifying them from the ordinance. Small Forest Landowners were defined in the amendments as owners who have harvested no more than an average timber volume of two million board feet per year.
The last amendment that was added to the ordinance was the striking of berry picking, mushroom picking and floral salal picking from the definition of Commercial Recreational use.
Cormier said the changes will further protect small forest landowners as well as strengthen Grays Harbor County’s position with respect to Washington Statutory Law and address Property Tax Advisory Opinion #16.01.2011.
Commissioner Frank Gordon said he voted yes unhappily because he is worried about funds that might need to be spent on a lawsuit to defend the County’s position.
The ordinance with the amendments passed unanimously.
Since yesterday’s vote, 2 Weyerhaeuser passes have sold for local land. In total, just under 500, or 5.9%, of the over 8000 passes have sold, bringing over $64,000 to the company.