William R. Colston of Chesaning and his family have encroached for decades on federal land adjoining their Roscommon County vacation home and ignored repeated warnings from the government, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said.
The affected area is part of the Kirtland's Warbler Wildlife Management Area, about 55 miles southeast of Traverse City. The endangered Kirtland's warbler is a small, ground-nesting bird, and the males are known for their bright yellow chests.
McQuade said natural resources are Michigan's "greatest asset. We have an obligation to preserve our lakes, air and lands for future generations, and for the native wildlife that lives there."
Colston's lawyer, James F. Piazza, said there was "nothing malicious" in his client's conduct. Piazza said Colston had been trying to negotiate with federal officials to lease or buy the parcel of land when the charges were filed.