CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Areas of Coonskin Park that may have been illegally timbered are being remediated -- under the supervision of the West Virginia Division of Forestry -- by the contractor who did the work.
The Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission learned of the plan Wednesday.
The supervising state agency also has suspended Russell Trucking LLC's timbering license until work is complete.
"He has his license suspended until he meets my requirements," said Jeremy Jones, a state forestry specialist.
Jones said he is holding Russell Trucking above the best management practices standards by the state because the damaged area is public property.
In May, the Charleston-based Russell Trucking, owned by David Bowen, was chosen by the parks commission to clean up and remove debris from last year's derecho -- work that wasn't covered by federal grants. The contractor was to perform the work for free and was allowed to keep the timber it gathered during the cleanup.
There was no written agreement for the job, but Parks Director Jeff Hutchinson said that he toured the park with a representative of Russell Trucking to identify damaged trees and areas of debris. However, none of the trees were marked in any way.
"The trees were obvious," Hutchinson told the commission at its meeting yesterday. "He knew what he was to get and what he wasn't."
After work began, a frequent park visitor, Margaret Zaleski, called the work into question and said she believed Russell Trucking took more trees than was necessary. She also pointed out that the company damaged the road in the picnic shelter loop and created paths and logging roads in forested areas of the park.
But the work Russell Trucking performed wasn't the only problem. The contractor wasn't even allowed to conduct business in West Virginia after its business license was suspended in December 2012, and the company also owed more than $100,000 in back taxes.