Help needed to open timber lands

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Volunteers are being sought by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to help provide hunters access to 250,000 acres of private land near Mount St. Helens.

Weyerhaeuser Co. is prepared to give hunters who hold special elk permits additional vehicle access to a large portion of the St. Helens Tree Farm if enough volunteers can be found to assure an orderly hunt.

Volunteers are needed from September through January.

Tasks will include orienting hunters, staffing access points and maintaining safety buffers between hunters and Weyerhaeuser operations, said Sandra Jonker, regional wildlife manager for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“The success of this program depends on our ability to recruit a dedicated team of volunteers,’’ Jonker said. “The amount of timber land that can be opened to hunting is directly proportionate to the number of volunteers.’’

Volunteers can sign up at the agency’s regional office, 2108 Grand Blvd.; Bob’s Sporting Goods, 1111 Hudson St., Longview, or online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/volunteer/sainthelens.

Orientation sessions for volunteers are scheduled at 6 p.m. Sept. 21 at the department’s Vancouver office and 6 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Cowlitz Public Utility District office, 961 12th Ave., Longview.