485,000 Acres Stays Open To Public Hunting
A consortium of private timber companies, associations and federal, state and local agencies recently received a two-year grant to continue a program of providing big game law enforcement services on 485,000 acres of private and public lands in Linn County, Oregon and keep them open to hunting.

Traditionally, private timberland owners have allowed public access to their properties during hunting seasons. However, in recent years, increasing vandalism, littering, trespassing onto closed areas and other violations have caused landowners to reconsider their public access policies. Cooperative law enforcement patrols have been successful throughout the state in providing private property owners with security, allowing them to continue to permit public use of their lands.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Access and Habitat Program awarded an $8,000 grant to the cooperators to hire a Linn County sheriff's deputy to patrol a mix of private and public lands east of Albany. Private security personnel will also assist in patrolling the area. Patrols will be heaviest during hunting seasons.

Created by the Oregon Legislature in 1993, the Access and Habitat Program is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses. Funds raised by the program are distributed in the form of grants awarded to individual and corporate landowners, conservation organizations, and others, to cooperatively fund wildlife habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout the state.

For more information on the Access and Habitat Program, contact program coordinator Matt Buhler at (503) 872-5260, extension 5349.

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