State fines company for cutting wrong trees along scenic river

December 04, 1998|By Timothy B. Wheeler | Timothy B. Wheeler,SUN STAFF

A West Virginia company has been fined $500 by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for improperly cutting trees along the Youghiogheny River, the state's only wild and scenic waterway in Garrett County.

DNR's Forest and Park Service cited Tri County Hardwoods Inc., of Bruceton Mills, W.Va., for violating the terms of its permit to remove trees in the state-regulated river corridor, said department spokesman John Surrick.

The company had been granted permission to log about 300 acres of a forested slope on the western side of the river. The land is owned by Donald Frazee of Friendsville.

Permits to log more than a mile of riverfront along the Youghiogheny, including this tract, stirred criticism this fall of the state's management of the 21-mile corridor.

The area is gaining popularity among whitewater enthusiasts and trout fishermen.

Critics, including a rafting company owner and a landowner who runs a fishing retreat, said the logging undermined the river's natural qualities, and they urged the state to acquire the privately owned land or the timber rights.

Under state regulations, the company was allowed to thin trees along the shore, but required to leave some behind. State forest officials had instructed Tri County to leave trees closest to the riverbank to shade the water for trout and to reduce erosion.

An inspection after the logging began discovered that 16 waterfront trees tagged for preservation had been cut, said Surrick, the DNR spokesman.

The company can pay the fine or contest it in District Court, Surrick said. A Jan. 13 trial date has been set.

Pub Date: 12/04/98

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