Archive for Thursday, January 24, 2008

Charge: Woman cut down trees on protected land to improve her view

January 24, 2008


— A woman has been indicted on charges that she had three large trees up to a century old cut down on sensitive federal land near Lake Tahoe to improve her view, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Officials said they weren't aware of any similar federal prosecutions.

Patricia M. Vincent, 58, was indicted last week on charges of theft of government property and willingly damaging government property. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.

The three ponderosa pines stood on a plot the U.S. Forest Service had designated as environmentally sensitive as part of a water quality plan to help protect the clarity of Lake Tahoe. The trees were estimated at 80 to 100 years old; trees that age would be at least 2 feet in diameter at the base of the trunk.

"It is important that public lands, which are held in trust for the benefit of all citizens, are appropriately protected by our land management agencies," U.S. Attorney Gregory Brower said in a news release. "Individuals who unlawfully encroach on these lands and cause damage will be prosecuted."

Forest Service spokesman Rex Norman said that there have been other cases of trees being cut down illegally on national forest land in the Tahoe Basin but that he was not aware of any similar federal prosecution. Natalie Collins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Las Vegas, said she also did not recall any similar prosecution.

The indictment accuses Vincent of hiring a commercial tree removal business in April to cut down the trees to enhance her view in Incline Village, one of the wealthiest towns on the shore of the mountain resort lake.

The damage exceeded $10,000, the indictment said.

The site is among several parcels of land the federal agency has established as conservation lots aimed at maintaining mature vegetation, which helps stabilize soils and combat erosion that contributes to the lake's degradation.


stargazer 10 years, 4 months ago

Has anyone seen the tree trimming job done along Locust from about 5th to 8th in North Lawrence? OMG what a wack job.

commonsense 10 years, 4 months ago

$250K fine ea.? Up to 10 years in Prison? I'm all about the environment, but it seems to me that several months of probation work at a tree farm would be better punishment. Punish the real criminals: murderers, rapists, arsonists, etc. I seriously doubt this selfish woman will pay the maximum penalty, but the punishment should fit the crime...

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 4 months ago

When a woman wants to cut down trees to improve her view, the government calls it a crime.

When a developer wants to take your property and erect a superstore, the government calls it imminent domain.

BrianR 10 years, 4 months ago

Stargazer, I refer to those crews as "the butchers." They destroyed a beautiful tree near our house, I was so pissed I thought about taking a chain saw to the utility poles.

It should be a crime to cut down trees on federal land to "improve your view." I could be a bit sympathetic about it if she were freezing and needed them for fuel. This was a pure selfish act.

They should gouge her eyes out with a spork then send her back to her "view."

lounger 10 years, 4 months ago

Commonsense-you have indeed made a good point!!

HW 10 years, 4 months ago

I'm with commonsense and lounger. A possible 10 years ? WTF? At the same time, child molestors are getting away with a slap on the wrist. Go figure. Community service and a nice hefty fine would put her pretentious @ss back in line.

Chris Golledge 10 years, 4 months ago

Maybe some community service working to plant trees, where she cut them and in some deforested area. I knew a guy who did that; it was brutal work. Job attrition was really high.

Write2Know 10 years, 4 months ago

I agree that the fine seems steep. However, I am wondering why the commercial tree removal company that actually removed the trees isn't being held liable.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

The tree service company may well be in trouble as well.

Those old trees had to be there when she purchased the home...why did she move in? No respect for nature.

yankeelady 10 years, 4 months ago

The fact that it wasn't on her property is a major problem. I would be very unhappy if a neighbor decided they didn't like the trees, or whatever on my land. I wonder what on earth made her think that was ok???

Chris Golledge 10 years, 4 months ago

Didn't you know that public property means that everyone gets do tear it up however they feel like? :-P

Not that it matters, but has anyone else smelled a ponderosa on a warm day? It's like vanilla/almond heaven.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 4 months ago

I'd suggest that she be forced to sign an agreement to will her property to the government (us) and plant trees that would grow to the equivalent age of the ones she cut by the end of the term (life expenctancy) of the oldest of current property owners' is over. We'd have to know the actual age of the trees. It sounds like she killed (3) one hundred year old of trees. Those are irreplaceable. They should sacrifice their property in compensation, as soon as their current occupation force is finished enjoying their view.

Just a thought...

compmd 10 years, 4 months ago

Dear Mrs. Vincent,

Now The Man is gonna cut you down.


The Trees

Emily Hadley 10 years, 4 months ago

I live on Locust Street. The tree service was BACK this morning! What is going on? It looked so bad already, and they aren't talking to any of the residents, as far as I can tell. I have lived in Lawrence for over a decade and never had the city or anyone else touch my trees unless I called them.

janeyb 10 years, 4 months ago

I'm with a stiff fine, making her pay to replace the trees, making her do many hours community service replacing trees, and put up something to block her precious view.

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