Whitesburg KY
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Couple sounds alarm about timber theft




To the Editor:

In early November a logging crew came onto my property on Craft’s Colly, private property, posted with no trespassing signs and fenced, and cut down 32 trees. Many were magnificent, several-hundred-year-old oak trees. No trees had been logged on that land for five generations of my family. Several of the oaks the loggers took were barely short of five feet in diameter. To get to the premium trees the loggers bulldozed a makeshift road destroying many of our younger trees in their path. They literally destroyed our property.

Neighbors watched them as they drove away with our trees loaded for sale. They notified us. Once caught, the loggers fled, leaving their bulldozer behind. Eventually they returned to pick it up. They cut down more than $50,000 worth of trees. The logger called me and offered me $1,700 on the phone for what he had taken. He is licensed by the state of Kentucky as a master logger, and should know what he did is illegal. The law requires loggers to have an agreement with the property owner, and to formally notify adjoining landowners to assure that they do not stray onto adjoining land. The logger did not, so far as we can tell, notify anyone, certainly not us. So far as we can determine, he made no effort to determine who actually owned the land. Furthermore, every tree he cut was on our land, so it was not a case of accidentally straying from another property.

Our property and those trees were all we had in the world. My husband is 81 years old, a World War II veteran, legally blind, and very frail. I am 77. We wanted to leave those trees to our children and grandchildren. It was their inheritance and we have worked our whole lives to save that for them. We are not wealthy people so this hurts us more than most.

We have called the Sheriff and the State Police to help us. We are hoping they will. I want everyone to know that this is a crime. Stealing is stealing and these people need to be stopped – now. We will not live to see our land as it was before they did what they did. Nor will several generations of our descendants. I am hoping that through our experience everyone out there will know about this and call their local law enforcement whenever they suspect illegal logging so this doesn’t happen to you and your family too.

MARVIN and VERNA POTTER Ermine


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