Building an illegal trail and clearing trees in the Gallatin National Forest will cost a Livingston man five months in federal prison, a fine and $25,000 restitution.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby today fined the defendant, Francis Leroy McLain, 60, $2,000 and ordered his prison term to run concurrently with a four-year federal sentence he is serving for tax evasion in Minnesota.
McLain pleaded guilty in December to damage to government property, a misdemeanor, for trail work he did in 2006 in the South Fork drainage of McDonald Creek south of Livingston. McLain originally was indicted on a felony but agreed to admit to a misdemeanor in a plea agreement.
McLain told the judge earlier he liked hiking in the forest behind his residence and thought he’d clear some blown-down trees and reduce the fire hazard.
Forest Service officials determined that McLain built a 6-foot wide ATV trail that was a mile and a half long. Agency officials estimated it would cost about $7,600 to dispose of downed trees that McLain had piled up and $25,948 to restore the land and prevent erosion.
McLain faced a maximum one year in prison and a maximum $100,000 fine.