DENVER (AP) – Prosecutors say a man accused of improperly building a road in an area being considered for federal wilderness protection has agreed to pay $80,000.

Andrew VanDenBerg was accused of building the road in the Whitehead Gulch Wilderness Study Area in southwest Colorado without authorization from the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM discovered the one-mile road in 2008. Federal prosecutors alleged VanDenBerg built it to reach his patented mining claim, cutting down hundreds of trees in winter forage habitat for the threatened Canada lynx in the process.

VanDenBerg has agreed to a settlement in which he will pay $80,000 toward reclamation of the land and won’t trespass on it. He doesn’t admit any wrongdoing in the settlement.

His attorneys didn’t immediately return emails seeking comment Wednesday night.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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