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Campers face charges for alleged wilderness violations with plane, chainsaw

Forest rangers say two hunters illegally cut trees to make the poles of this tent, found in the West Canada Lake Wilderness, in the town of Ohio near Old Forge. (Provided photo — DEC)

Two hunters from Oneida County have been charged with misdemeanors and several violations after they allegedly landed a plane in a wilderness area and used a chainsaw to clear trails and cut trees for tent poles, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation

They are Robert Kratzenberg of Forestport and Andrew Davies from Westmoreland, according to the DEC. Public information officer Lori Severino said one of them owns the floatplane they landed on Balsam Lake in the West Canada Lake Wilderness Area, in the Herkimer County town of Ohio

Severino said two DEC forest rangers, Lincoln Hanno and Dylan McCartney, discovered the camp while on foot patrol in the southwest Adirondacks on Nov. 13. On Nov. 19 they apprehended the two hunters.

Severino said pending charges include cutting 14 trees to build their camp and use of a chainsaw in a wilderness area, a class A misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year jail and up to a $1,000 fine, plus up to triple damages for the value of the trees.

The other charged are violations and include storage of personal property on state land, camping violations and landing a plane on a prohibited body of water in a wilderness area. The violations penalty is up to 15 days jail, up to a $250 fine, a $75 surcharge and up to $100 civil penalty for each offense, Severino said.

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