Popular volunteer falls to death from helicopter during pot eradication in central Calif.


FRESNO, Calif. — A California outdoorsman who led crews of volunteers through the Sierra Nevada mountains repairing trails and cleaning up marijuana grow sites has died after falling from a helicopter, authorities said.

It’s unclear how Shane Krogan, executive director of the High Sierra Trail Crew, fell from the aircraft on Thursday or whether he was properly restrained.

He was with a group helping the California Department of Fish and Wildlife cleanup up an illegal grow site east of Tulare in California’s Central Sierra. Officials with the agency did not immediately return telephone calls and emails seeking information.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter pilot declared a medical emergency prior to landing in Visalia, about 30 miles south of Fresno. The pilot radioed that a crewman had been involved in a fall.

Krogan was a popular figure among California environmentalists and the wildlife agencies his crews assisted. In July he was quoted in an Associated Press story about the volunteers who help the U.S. Forest Service maintain trails during tight budget times.

“Most of us sit at a desk all week and at the end of the week have no tangible outcome for our effort,” he said. “Whether they are cutting out a tree or building rock steps, they have a sense of pride and ownership.”