Restitution made for illegal timber harvest in Ozark National Scenic Riverways

NPS photo of the historic Susie Nichols Cabin in Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Inset: historic photo of Susie Nichols mounted on her horse "Ol' Don" in front of her cabin.
The historic Susie Nichols Cabin in Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  Inset: historic photo or Susie Nichols on her horse "Ol' Don" in front of her cabin.

NPS photo.

News Release Date: November 10, 2016

Contact: NPS Investigative Services Branch, (202) 379-4761

Restitution made for illegal timber harvest in Ozark National Scenic Riverways


Two men who extracted timber from within the boundaries of Ozark National Scenic Riverways have completed payment of $52,469 in restitution. The amount was reached in a pretrial diversion agreement between the men and the US Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Missouri, and equals the cost of site remediation and the sale price of the erroneously-harvested timber.

An ISB Special Agent and US Park Rangers of Ozark National Scenic Riverways opened an investigation in March of 2013, when a ranger on routine patrol found a logging operation harvesting timber in the area of the Susie Nichols Cabin, inside the park's boundaries. The complex 14-month investigation determined that four areas of the park were impacted by the logging operation. In all, 400 black and white oak trees were taken from 31 acres of park lands. Fortunately, an archeological assessment conducted as part of the investigation found that no cultural resources were damaged or destroyed.

Though the timber harvest was illegal, investigators determined that no criminal intent was behind the activity. The men responsible for the resource damage to the park cooperated with the National Park Service and US Attorney's Office throughout the investigation and were placed into pretrial diversion. This is an alternative to prosecution that diverts certain offenders from traditional criminal justice proceedings. If participants meet the terms of the agreement within the timed allotted, criminal charges are waived or dismissed. The men responsible made their final restitution payment in September of 2016. 

The National Park Service wishes to thank John Bryan of the US Forest Service and his team, the Assistant US Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, and NPS Archeologist Caven Clark for their assistance and involvement in the case.
 
ISB: the Investigative Services Branch of the National Park Service
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Last updated: November 10, 2016