Private forest lands reopening for hunters

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter

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Eight private timber companies totaling about 260,000 acres in Skamania, Klickitat and southern Yakima counties reopened their lands to public hunting on Monday.

The companies include Hancock Forest Management, Stevenson Land Co., Broughton Lumber Co., Kreps Ranch LLC, Kreps Family LLC, Longview Timberlands LLC, Western Pacific Timber LLC and International Forestry Consultants, Inc.

The lands had been closed since mid-August due to extreme fire danger.

"Significant rain has reduced the fire hazard and the lands are now open again following the rules of access for the individual property,'' said Wayne Vinyard, area manager in Glenwood, Wash., for Hancock Forest Management.

Weyerhaeuser Co. announced on Monday that its 420,000-acre St. Helens Tree Farm is open to non-motorized access.

Three access corridors on the St. Helens Tree Farm also are open to allow the public to reach state land. The three corridors are roads 4100, 1900 and 8050.

Sierra Pacific Industries announced many of the gates are open now at its Ryderwood Tree Farm, although others remain closed and only walk-in hunting is allowed.

To get details about the Ryderwood Tree Farm, call 1-360-623-1299.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources announced Monday its statewide burning ban on lands protected by the agency expires at midnight.

While wet weather has returned, the rainfall amounts have not been excessive. At Trout Lake, in western Klickitat County, the rainfall total since from Friday through mid-day on Monday was 0.68 inch.

Heavy rain is forecast for tonight, with showers on Tuesday. A chain of rain is expected again beginning Thursday night.

General deer season began on Saturday in Southwest Washington and continues through Oct. 31 in most game units. Grayback unit No. 388 and Grayback No. 382 are open through Oct. 26.