One Successful Approach To Improving And Maintaining Public Hunting On Industrial Lands

It is recognized that there are a number of ways that industrial lands can be administered to develop the wildlife resources and at the same time provide a recreational opportunity for the public. Gulf States Paper explored a number of these possibilities and we fully realize what has worked successfully for us may not for other industries. The Corporation was founded in 1884, in Marseilles, Illinois, by Herbert Eugene Westervelt. After 44 years of growth and expansion the home office was established in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In the late 40's and early 50's improved conservation protective systems in Alabama began to show promising results in the rapid build up of game populations. Because of the unique nature of the Alabama trespass laws requiring that one obtain written permission to enter upon the lands of others, and the great increase in the numbers of people requesting this permission, the corporation was forced to employ a permit system. This system was standardized in that all requests were granted. Problems arose at a local level and the policy was changed allowing only bona fide county residents to hunt on Gulf States' land in his county of residence. For nine years following this change nothing was done to accommodate the increasing numbers of urban hunters. In 1965, to accommodate these additional requests, a fee permit system was initiated. Annual fees for hunting were set up on the following basis: for a hunter who wanted to hunt small game only on Gulf States' land within the county of his residence-$l.OO; all game within the county of his residence-$3.00; all game on 350,000 acres of Gulf States' land open to the public-$10.00. Following two years of this program the results have been highly successful. With reference to the permit system the corporation has enjoyed a very satisfying degree of public relations, as well as being able to greatly intensify its forest game program. No repercussions of any consequence have been felt in the form of forest fires or other destruction that could be related to the fee permits. Recent acquisitions have brought the corporate holdings close to 400,000 acres that will be open to the public under the permit system. Circumstances in recent acquisitions have caused us to have lands under lease to hunting clubs. We now have five such areas ranging in size from 200 to 1,984 acres. As indicated above, the corporate policy is set in maintaining and developing the greatest amount of ownership in twin crop management for public recreational use. The public is helping to pay their way essentially investing in their own hunting future.

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