Peru man allegedly harvested timber from state forest


PITTSFIELD — A Peru man is facing charges that he illegally removed about $2,500 worth of timber from a section of the Middlefield State Forest.

Mark Gaylord, 71, established a camp with an outhouse and trailer, harvested timber illegally and violated wetlands restrictions by widening a road, according to police.

There also was evidence of other potential wetlands violations and of vehicles having been brought in to remove the lumber, police said.

Gaylord told investigators he had permission from the landowner to harvest timber from that area.

Environmental Police told Gaylord the parcel in question was owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation and he would need its authorization to remove timber.

Investigators discovered an "extensive illegal trail system that was made in order to take out the timber," according to court files.

Establishing those trails damaged existing stone walls in the forest and there was evidence of trees harvested in wetlands and other trees cut and left "in a dangerous state," according to court records.

Police estimated $2,545 worth of timber was either removed or damaged.

Gaylord acknowledged he established the camp and harvested the timber in question, according to court documents. He said he'd taken about 10 to 12 cords of wood from the area over the past two years to be used as firewood for himself and his family.

He pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday to charges of unlicensed commercial forest cutting, an inlands wetlands violation, vandalizing a stone wall or fence, a forest or park rules violation and defacing property.

Gaylord was released on his own recognizance by Judge William Rota and is due back in court on Jan. 28.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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