In Wyoming’s Jackson Hole area, some overzealous landowners are breaking the law by toppling trees that block the spectacular views, says the Christian Science Monitor. A commanding vantage point can increase property values by millions. From the Tetons to the Blue Ridge Mountains, felling trees for personal gain is known as “vanity logging.”
Land use experts say it’s more common as Baby Boomers change culture, economies, and privacy attitudes. Often, logging comes after permission is denied, and clear-cutters move in under cover of darkness.
Two years ago, a Nevada agency brought legal action against residents along Lake Tahoe who cut trees – in some cases, just the tops – to improve their view. The state said the only way to slow the trend is through vigilant law enforcement and by levying fines that exceed the value achieved through tree felling. In one case, landowners were threatened with a fine of $5,000 per day for every limb they removed.