State fine could loom for illegal logging


POSTED: Friday, April 24, 2009

A Big Island man faces a potential fine of $26,000 and a damage payment of more than $57,900 for logging without authorization on state land.

Jay Warner was also asked to restore 25 acres of koa forest under a proposal from state forestry officials.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is scheduled to hear the proposal today in Honolulu.

A state forestry report said the koa logging on state land done by Warner was accidental and due to a misaligned fence built 80 to 100 years ago by Parker Ranch.

State officials said 32 trees were harvested from the Hilo Forest Reserve and that Warner harvested 13,412 net board feet of koa.

Forestry officials said they were charging $4 a board foot for the commercial harvesting of koa.

State forester Steve Bergfeld said an old Parker Ranch fence line veered up to 50 yards into state land. Its encroachment on state land was discovered in 2005 during a ranch survey.

Forestry program manager Michael Constantinides said Warner and the ranch have been cooperative during the investigation.

“;It was an honest mistake,”; Constantinides said.

Warner did not respond to messages left on his home telephone. The ranch was unavailable for comment.

Constantinides said the state attorney general's office advised the Forestry Division not to file charges against the ranch and to have Constantinides and the ranch arrive at a settlement between themselves.