Haida Corp. to pay fine for illegal timber cuts

Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2000

Haida Corp. has agreed to pay nearly $200,000 to resolve its second case of unauthorized removal of timber from the Tongass National Forest.

The Native village corporation for Hydaburg pleaded guilty in federal District Court on Dec. 23 to one count of unauthorized cutting and one count of unauthorized removal of timber, in connection with the logging in 1996 of 4.8 acres in the Sulzer Portage area on Prince of Wales Island.

Under the plea agreement negotiated with the U.S. Attorney's Office, the corporation agreed to pay a $43,250 fine on one count, as well as $155,014.19 in restitution to the federal government. The restitution is based on the market value of the timber cut, a gross volume of 321,261 board feet.

A second fine of $43,250 was suspended, and the corporation was placed on a year's probation.

Arlene Dilts, executive director of Haida Corp., could not be reached for comment this morning.

The illegal logging occurred because of confusion over the boundary between Forest Service land and corporation land, said Forest Service Special Agent Jack Davis in Ketchikan.

Haida Corp. hired an unlicensed surveyor, who used a compass near ``a known magnetic anomaly,'' leading to guesswork about the precise boundary, Davis said. Despite this, the corporation did no follow-up and logged the acreage six months later, he said.

Haida Corp. also was ticketed for illegal removal of timber in 1993, Davis said. Two years later, the corporation pleaded no contest before a magistrate in federal District Court, and was fined $3,850 and ordered to pay $30,386.86 in restitution, he said.

In the current case, the corporation will have to pay the fine and restitution within 30 days of the formal entry of judgment, which is still pending, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Skrocki in Anchorage.

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