The phones have been ringing off the hook at Plum Creek Timberland with calls from leaseholders over a new Plum Creek campsite program.
“We have been receiving a lot of calls,” said Donnie Wood, Plum Creek recreational lease manager, whose answering-machineonce held a two-day backlog of calls.
The callers aren’t happy.
The club president of a club on Plum Creek property in Hancock County called GON to report on the impact of the new policy.
“We have 15 or 16 campers on the property,” he said. “That’s an additional $3,000 plus the camping fee on top of the lease. Camping is a big part of the experience when we come here to hunt, but we can’t afford this.”
Just ahead of publication of the March issue, GON learned that Plum Creek Timberland Inc. had imposed a new hunt-camp policy on their leaseholders. In a February 19 letter to its leaseholders, Plum Creek announced a new policy that initiates a $200 camping fee per each acre that is used as a campsite. An additional $200 will be assessed per camper, motorhome or trailer that is left on the property.
Leaseholders who do not camp on the Plum Creek land will not be assessed the additional camping fee.
Plum Creek leaseholders can expect a letter from the timber company in the next couple of weeks that will clarify the new program.
One area of confusion has been the belief that a camper on the property for any length of time would be assessed the $200 fee. Only permanent structures are subject to the fee. Hunters who bring a camper to Plum Creek land ahead of deer season and remove the camper by the end of turkey season will not be assessed the $200 fee.
Plum Creek personnel will audit each camp between June and August, and any structures or campers found during that period will be considered permanent.
In a letter from Plum Creek to GON Publisher Steve Burch, the timber company states that the new campsite policy was developed for three reasons:
1.) Plum Creek wanted to develop a program to effectively manage the current state of camping.
2.) The program will standardize the company’s campsite policy. Permanent structures have never been allowed on Plum Creek land, but the new program allows them — with an annual fee.
3.) The program will provide incentives to clubs to manage the impact of their campsite.
The letter ends with a statement suggesting there may be changes to the policy:
“We consider the campsite program to be a work in progress. As we gain more information on our customer’s interests, we expect to modify the program to better suit their needs.”
To see the original letter in its entirety, see the Plum Creek article at <www.gon.com>.
Plum Creek owns or controls approximately 850,000 acres in Georgia and manages about 1,200 hunt clubs on that land.