Montana Land Board Concerned About Weyerhaeuser Land Access Policy
The possible purchase of Plum Creek land in western Montana by Weyerhaeuser has already raised concerns among Montana Hunting groups, but now state officials are beginning to question the purchase as well. State Auditor Monica Lindeen’s Land board Adviser Jeff Barber says she raised questions about the purchase during Monday’s Montana Land Board meeting.
"Plum Creek has always been a real good neighbor in offering free and open public access to their lands. We looked at Weyerhaeuser and noted that they have a fee system, by permits or by exclusive lease, so Monica raised the question at the Land Board meeting this morning, 'what is this going to mean for public access going into the future.'"
Barber says the Land Board is concerned about how a change in access policy could impact access to state lands as well. A number of questions were raised during the meeting.
"What is Weyerhaeuser's policy exactly?" Barber said. "How will they implement it in Montana? What have they done it elsewhere? There are a number of state lands that are within holdings of Plum Creek's property, what is going to happen with public access on those state lands? There is the potential here of impacting over 700,000 acres of land that the public can access right now."
Barber says that the Land Board hopes to have answers to some of their many questions during the December meeting. Barber said it is still unclear how much influence the Land Board could have over Weyerhaeuser’s decisions, but that Lindeen is pushing for access to remain as open as it is under Plum Creek.