First of all did you know that the government issues permits allowing developers and individuals to collect plants on federal land? I suppose I am naive but I had no idea! Doesn't that seem just a little odd?
Secondly these developers reportedly trespassed on government land for years taking "thousands of vegetative resources!" Seriously? Who do they think they are? Imagine if everyone did this...why bother going to the nursery and paying for your landscaping? Just go to the park and dig up what you like! Crazy!
If you are interested here is a link the story as it appeared online and here is a link to the Pronghorn Resort website (it certainly looks fancy, just look at all those "vegetative resources" on the homepage picture)....the story:
Developers of high-desert resort to pay feds $200,000 in trespass dispute
By Bryan Denson, The Oregonian
December 21, 2009, 5:00PM
In the craggy buttes northeast of Bend, the Pronghorn resort features two world-class golf courses, swanky homes and an elegant clubhouse.
It also features a substantial number of plants, trees and grasses pilfered from federal land, according to a lawsuit filed last week by the U.S. government -- a complaint settled simultaneously by Pronghorn.
High Desert Development Partners LLC, part-owner of Pronghorn Resort and Golf Club, agreed to pay $200,000 to settle the suit but did not admit any liability, according to government attorneys who handled the case.
Pronghorn officials did not return a phone call today seeking comment.
The developer’s work crews were accused of repeatedly trespassing on 250 acres of U.S. Bureau of Land Management property and taking thousands of vegetative resources, including juniper trees, dead junipers often called “Ghost Trees,” Idaho fescue grasses and sagebrush.
The vegetation helped give a desert-like appearance to the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and the Tom Fazio Golf Course, both of which opened in the last five years.
The complaint sought triple the fair market value of the natural resources that the government accused Pronghorn of taking as well as costs to rehabilitate and stabilize the high-desert land from which they were taken.
On Nov. 8, 2004, the BLM issued a permit allowing Pronghorn’s developers to collect 1,000 plants on its nearby land. The permit came with provisos: it expired on May 1, 2005, and there would be no extensions.
Five months after the permit expired, BLM officials learned that Pronghorn still collected vegetation off the federal land and they notified Pronghorn’s director of agronomy that he was violating federal law, according to the government complaint. Pronghorn was ordered to cease collecting plants.
In late October, 2005, Pronghorn requested a permit for 3,000 to 5,000 plants from BLM land. That request was denied, in part, because those permits are primarily intended for individuals to collect small amounts of landscaping materials and, according to the lawsuit, “removal of plants at that scale would subject the permit to National Environmental Policy Act requirements.”
The government accused Pronghorn of repeatedly trespassing on BLM land and collecting vegetation without a permit from May 2005 to June 2006.
“The manager who supervised the removal of vegetation from BLM land is no longer employed by Pronghorn,” government prosecutors wrote in a press statement.