After a series of downed trees were discovered in and around the Pecos Wilderness area in New Mexico, one USFS official is saying illegal logging was done in order to create illegal backcountry ski runs. So far the USFS has issued a reward for any information regarding the whereabouts of those responsible for illegally cutting trees on federal land according to Outside Online.
In an interview with Outside, assistant public affairs officer, Clifton Russell said “You’re supposed to leave [the forest] as it was a hundred years ago.”
However, it seems as though the people cutting down the trees might not agree. The official said that between 300-400 trees were cut down in the process, which could lead to a class A misdemeanor if the culprits are caught. The maximum punishment for such a charge could include a $6,000 fine and 6 months of jail time.
Here is the USFS Press Release Concerning the Illegal Logging:
SANTA FE, NM – October 1, 2015 – For Immediate Release. The U.S. Forest Service is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the unlawful cutting and damaging of trees in and around the Pecos Wilderness.
Hikers discovered the scene and reported it to the Santa Fe National Forest, which turned the matter over to U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations.
The area where the illegal tree cutting has occurred is within and along the boundary of the Pecos Wilderness north of the Santa Fe Ski Area and south and east of the Winsor Trail in the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District.
If you have information about this incident, contact U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations at 505-842-3363.