The country's largest private landholder is Plum Creek Timber. The company holds 6.8 million acres across the north and southeast areas of the country. Not too far behind in land management, the Weyerhaeuser Company "owns or controls" an additional six million acres. That's a lot of land with potential for recreational use. In some cases its a bonus for boondockers. Much of the recreational use of these lands is managed by the companies themselves; in other cases local governments handle recreation while the companies tend to the timber.
Many timber companies recognize the "recreational aspects" of their holdings and make their lands available for public use. With that hospitality comes responsibility to those of us who use the land. Most things are pretty straight-forward and simple:
- Leave gates as you find them--or as posted, be it open or closed.
- Don't leave litter or dump your tanks.
- Be careful with campfires where permitted, and where they aren't DON'T have one.
- Follow any rules or requests the company makes.
What about costs? Some timber outfits welcome recreationists with open arms, and no fees. Others are "discovering" that charging a fee can help them out--the policies vary by company. A few years back, Potlach Corporation decided to begin charging fees in some of its Idaho forest holdings--to the tune of nearly $100 a year. Depending on your use, that may actually be a bargain.
How do you find out about boondocking opportunities? We'll list a few of the big company's web sites in a second, otherwise, you'll need to do a little detective work on your own. You could check out local phone books under "Timber" for possible leads. Many outfits post signs on their holdings (which may or may not include phone numbers) which at least give you an idea of who owns the property.
On to the list:
Weyerhaeuser: This company owns land in both the South, Midwest, and Northwest. While lands in the south are typically "leased" for recreation, in the northwest much land is open to the public. The company provides a web site with state-by-state clickable list, which leads to maps and details.
Plum Creek Timber: A BIG concern as we mentioned. Their website provides a rather generalized discussion of recreation in its various state landholdings here. However, in the left sidebar you'll find a link to recreation contact folks where hopefully, more information specific to your needs can be tracked down.