MACHIAS – A Steuben woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in Machias District Court for her role in an illegal tree-cutting operation off Route 1 in Steuben.
Patricia Bybee, 38, was charged by the Maine Forest Service with unlawful cutting of trees, stemming from a timber harvest that had taken place in April.
Rangers from the Maine Forest Service were alerted to the complaint by landowner Jesse King of Steuben. King reported that Norman Newenham of Steuben was seen cutting trees on the wrong side of a marked boundary line on the King property.
Rangers Courtney Hammond and Rick Henion determined in their investigation that there were 101 trees that had been cut on the King property. They also determined that the boundary line separating the Bybee and King parcels was well-marked and in the correct location.
After speaking with Newenham, the rangers learned that Bybee had told him to cut the trees and to disregard the property line.
“The unlawful cutting of trees statute states that any person who cuts trees of another, or gives direction to cut the trees of another, is in violation of the law,” said District Ranger Jeff Currier, the supervisor for southern Washington and Hancock counties.
“In this case, we felt that there was a clear direction given to the logger, Newenham, by Bybee.”
Bybee admitted to Judge John Romei that she was responsible for the tree cutting. The judge imposed a $100 fine and ordered that Bybee make restitution to Jesse King in the amount of $1,000 for the cut trees.
Maine Forest Rangers receive hundreds of complaints of this type statewide each year, Currier said.
“We use our knowledge of logging, boundary lines and property deeds to protect people’s timber investments,” Currier said.
Rangers encourage landowners to regularly walk their property boundaries and to keep them well-marked to prevent timber trespass.