The overwhelming majority of trees felled by an unlicensed contractor at Coonskin Park earlier this summer were not supposed to be cut, Parks Director Jeff Hutchinson said.
Of all the trees removed by David Bowen and his staff at Russell Trucking, only nine percent were actually supposed to be cut, Hutchinson told members of the parks commission during a Wednesday morning meeting.
Russell Trucking continues to remediate the damage it caused when it illegally timbered trees from the park. Paving to repair the damaged road was scheduled to begin Tuesday.
At Hutchinson's recommendation, the parks commission allowed Russell Trucking to remove debris left from last year's derecho. There was no written contract, and the project wasn't put out to bid.
It was later discovered the company's business license was suspended and that it owed more than $100,000 in back taxes.
Russell Trucking agreed to do the work at no charge but was allowed to keep the debris. It sold the Coonskin timber for about $66,000 to a sawmill, officials later learned.
It also severely damaged the loop road through the picnic shelter area and established logging roads through the park.
"We're trying to move forward with the situation," said Chuck Bailey, the attorney for the parks commission.
Parks commission President Anna Dailey said the board may consider filing a lawsuit but will make that decision once remediation work is complete.
Remediation work includes the paving of the shelter road, removal of debris, planting of grass and grading of the area where damage occurred from machinery. Hutchinson said Russell Trucking would also remove other stumps in the park and repave part of the parking lot at the Coonskin clubhouse.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department is investigating the timbering to determine if charges will be filed. Dailey said the department spoke with witnesses to the timbering and sawmills.