CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State forestry officials have suspended the license of a logger who allegedly timbered Coonskin Park without permission.
Jeremy Jones, of the state Division of Forestry, told members of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission that forestry officials have suspended the timbering license of David Bowen until Bowen mitigates damage from an allegedly unauthorized timbering operation inside the park.
Members of the parks board agreed to have Bowen remove storm debris from last year's derecho storm left over after a Federal Emergency Management Agency-funded cleanup, and to cut the tops out of damaged trees hanging near the road and public areas of the park. But Parks Commission President Anna Dailey and parks board attorney Chuck Bailey said Bowen allegedly went far beyond the scope of the agreement, cutting logging roads and cutting and selling as much as $66,000 in timber.
"I feel like we got had," Dailey said.
Bailey said the agreement with Bowen never included cutting roads or felling trees for profit, and Jones said his state timbering permit only authorized the storm cleanup.
"I was surprised as you guys were at what had been done," Jones told parks commission members at a meeting Wednesday. "He represented to me he would not be building any roads."
Bowen has not responded to telephone calls seeking comment.
Margaret Zaleski, a frequent visitor to Coonskin Park, told parks officials about the unauthorized logging at a meeting last month. Zaleski said she was angry about the lack of oversight of the project, which was agreed to without a written contract.