(a) Each forestry region in this state shall contain an informal conference panel composed of three persons to decide appeals of the director's orders. One member of the panel shall be selected by the director, one member shall be selected by the chief and one member shall be selected by agreement between the chief and the director. If a vacancy exists on the panel, the vacancy shall be filled by whomever made the initial selection. The members of the panel shall serve without compensation.
(b) Upon appeal of a decision under this section or upon petition by the chief, pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a), section five of this article, the panel shall hold an informal conference affirming, modifying or vacating an order of the director, or issuing an order in the name of the director. The panel shall forthwith notify the parties of its decision and as soon as practicable send written notice of its decision to the parties. The decision of the panel is final.
(c) A party aggrieved by a decision of a panel may appeal to the circuit court of the county wherein the cause for the order arose. The appeal must be filed with the circuit court within twenty days of the date of decision of the panel and shall be heard de novo by the court. The court may reverse, vacate or modify the decision of the panel. The decision of the circuit court is final unless reversed, vacated or modified on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeals in the manner provided by law.