The names of three locals cited for an illegal timber harvest on Canyons of the Ancients National Monument were made public during a court appearance in a Durango Federal Court last week.
Virgil Bylilly, of Ismay, along with Sherm Lansing and Sheldon Lansing, both of Dolores, were cited with cutting, removing, or damaging trees without a permit, according to a court clerk.
Collecting, harvesting and cutting wood are prohibited on the monument.
A BLM officer said the men were caught Jan. 24 logging near County Road 10 and the Utah border. The off-road area sustained significant damage.
“Twenty juniper trees were pulled down, and about 1.5 miles of off-road damage will have to be rehabilitated,” said monument manager Marietta Eaton.
Eaton said there were no cultural sites in the area that was logged. The illegal harvest is one of the largest officials have seen.
The men used a truck and an ATV to access and remove the trees, according to court documents.
They were offered a plea agreement by the U.S. attorney’s office, according to a federal court clerk, but the details were not known. The plea deal had not been accepted as of press time.
The men are due back in federal court in Durango on April 1 at 10 a.m.
“We’ve been having a problem with illegal wood cutting along County Road 10,” said BLM officer Logan Briscoe.