DENVER (AP) — The lawyer for a Colorado man accused of improperly building a road in an area being considered for federal wilderness protection says Andrew VanDenBerg only settled to avoid costs of a trial.
Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that VanDenBerg agreed to pay $80,000 in the settlement. They alleged he cut trees to convert a narrow trail into a road in the Whitehead Gulch Wilderness Study Area in southwest Colorado without authorization from the Bureau of Land Management.
His Cheyenne, Wyo.-based attorney Karen Budd Falen disputes that it was in a wilderness study area and says VanDenBerg only cleaned up an existing road so he could reach his patented mining claim.
She said Thursday that VanDenBerg anticipates legal action to gain access to the claim, which is surrounded by BLM land.
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