St. John Valley

Van Buren logging company agrees to pay settlement to Maine Forest Service

WOODLAND, Maine — Van Buren-based GR Timber Holdings LLC entered into an administrative agreement with the Maine Forest Service to settle the company’s violation of Maine’s rules and regulations governing timber harvesting. 

GR Timber Holdings agreed to pay  $20,000.

In 2018, the timber company built a road and stream crossing in Woodland in order to access the northern part of the property without getting the proper forest service permits. During that time, the company installed two culverts that didn’t meet the minimum requirements for opening size. 

“Because the culverts were undersized, the 50-foot stream crossing failed and washed out during the annual spring high water event, causing a large amount of sediment discharged into the Caribou Stream,” the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry said in a prepared statement. 

From January through August 2018, non-terminating ditches associated with the crossing consisted of exposed soil, which also delivered large sediment discharges to the Caribou Stream. At the direction of the forest service, the timber company removed the culverts and stabilized the approach to the Caribou Stream. 

“GRTH was cooperative and took full responsibility for the violation,” said Forest Service Regional Enforcement Coordinator Dave Rochester. “These violations resulted from inadequate harvest planning and a failure to review the forestry rules before the operations began.” 

This was not the first time the timber company had been cited for breaking Maine rules regarding forestry and timber harvesting. In 1998, GRTH agreed to pay $17,500 to the forest service for violating clear-cut provisions under the Forest Practices Act. 

Attempts to reach the timber company for comment were unsuccessful. 

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