A Windham County man, who was fined by the state for a major improper tree-cutting operation in Essex County, is now facing criminal charges that he illegally cut down at least 299 trees in Stratton that were designated for protection as part of the Green Mountain National Forest. Raymond Otto Tarbell, 66, of Townshend is due in federal court in Burlington to face three charges related to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Forest Service from the Manchester Ranger District about the unauthorized tree cutting in the town of Stratton. USFS Special Agent Charles Brooks said in court papers “299 trees were unlawfully harvested. In 2012, Tarbell and Sarah J. Stark, paid $23,398 to the state of Vermont as part of a settlement for a heavy cut on property owned in Ferdinand in Essex County in the Northeast Kingdom. Investigation found that 59 acres of the parcel owned by Tarbell and Stark had been heavy cut contrary to their forest management plan, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. The impacted area in the new case was estimated between 2 and 2½ acres and was likely cut during the winter of 2020-21, according to Timber Management Assistant Stacy Stratton. The tree cutting was inconsistent with the guidelines contained in the Green Mountain National Forest Plan, Brooks said. The Green Mountain National Forest is an estimated 400,000 acres of federal land. Stratton Mountain at 3,940 feet is considered the 7th highest peak in Vermont.
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