Two northern Vermont men are charged with illegally cutting trees in a section of Vermont State Forest on Jay. A tram operator noticed the 3,000-foot-long cut on July 12, and notified state law enforcement officials.
Sgt. Bradley Mann, a game warden for Vermont's Department of Fish and Wildlife, told a Vermont District Court he had begun an investigation when two men approached him, confessed to the cutting, and brought him to a chainsaw and other tools they had hidden.
Paul Poulin, 47, of Newport, and Alan Ritter, 46, of Jay, were charged with felony mischief, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
The state believes the two men cut the trees to build a private ski trail, three-quarters of a mile long and up to 65 feet wide in places. An estimated 873 trees were cut, on which court documents put a replacement cost of $47,883.
They pleaded not guilty at their arraignment in September, despite their written confession. Their case is ongoing.
Jay Peak is famous for its glade skiing.