EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSForestry Officials Suspend License Of Logger Who Allegedly Cut Trees At Coonskin
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Associated Press
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Jul. 17, 2013 2:17 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 17, 2013 11:25 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A logger who was clearing storm damage at Coonskin Park had his license suspended Wednesday.
David Bowen is accused of cutting healthy trees from the park, to make a profit.
His logging license has now been suspended, but he said it was all a big misunderstanding.
"I think we did a good job, this place was shut down for a year and no one would come in here to help until we came in here and helped them," Bowen said.
He is standing by his work, saying he offered to bring his company, Russell Trucking, into Coonskin Park to clear trees that were damaged during last summer's derecho.
He said he offered to do the work for free as a tax write off, but to supplement the cost of the job he said he did cash in some of the storm-damaged trees, but not healthy ones.
"We were salvaging the debris, which are the trees that had tops out of them, the bottom of the trees were good and we were salvaging the wood in response to getting money out of them to take care of the rest of the job," Bowen said.
But Bowen is accused of taking trees he was not supposed to take.
Commissioner Kent Carper said Bowen cut logging trails through the park and cut down $66,000 worth of healthy trees.
"There's no doubt in my mind, then and now, that this individual violated several laws and clearly violated the agreement with the parks department and took trees out of there that he shouldn't have," Carper said.
Now Bowen's logging license has been suspended. He said that has to do with an unpaid insurance fine, which he said he has now corrected.
State forestry officials have suspended the license of a logger who is accused of using a government-funded contract to clear a park after a storm to cut trees for profit.
Media outlets report that officials suspended the license of David Bowen until he mitigates the damage from the unauthorized cut at Coonskin Park in Kanawha County.
The county's parks and recreation commission agreed to have Bowen's company, Russell Trucking, remove debris from the park after last year's derecho. Bowen was supposed to cut the tops of out damaged trees hanging near roads and public park areas.
Parks officials claim Bowen also cut logging roads and cut and sold as much as $66,000 in timber. Bowen's timbering permit only authorized storm cleanup.
Bowen has not responded to telephone calls seeking comment.
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