Owner And Operator Of Wolf Creek Ski Area Charged And Pleads Guilty To Conducting Work Activity In The Forest Without A Permit
DENVER – Randall D. Pitcher, age 52, of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, who owns and operates the Wolf Creek Ski Area within the confines of the Rio Grande National Forest, was charged and pled guilty today to conducting work in the forest without a permit, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and U.S. Forest Service Special Agent in Charge Laura Mark announced. Pitcher entered his guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. West in Durango this morning. Pitcher is scheduled to be sentenced by Magistrate Judge West on December 16, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. in Durango.
According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, on February 11th, March 3rd, and March 4th, defendant Pitcher hired a commercial helicopter service to transport himself and his Wolf Creek Ski Area employees on to the Rio Grande National Forest for the purpose of engaging in avalanche training and search and rescue training. On all three occasions, Pitcher did not have a permit to conduct such work activities nor did he have the necessary authorization of the Forest Service to conduct such work activities.
Pitcher faces up to 6 months in federal prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service, and prosecuted by Durango Branch Office Chief James Candelaria.