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Billboards Degrade the Natural Environment | Scenic America

Appreciating natural and manmade beauty is the first step towards conserving our scenery and
protecting our natural resources. As a Vermont business owner recently said, "I do not think the
short-term gain [billboards] would bring to my business are worth the permanent degradation to
our scenic roadsides or the insult to our citizens and visitors who have come to expect more of
us."

Billboards Divorce Us From Our Natural Heritage

Attractive communities and unspoiled scenic vistas are critical to our quality of life. Both
encourage us to appreciate and maintain beauty and the natural environment.

Each new billboard that is constructed tarnishes our communities and despoils our countryside.
Moreover, each new billboard reinforces the perception that ugliness is the price of progress --
that our quality of life depends on destroying the very resources we most value. This false
choice serves only those who benefit from blight, and it encourages us to accept the destruction
of all scenic, environmental, and historic resources except those specifically set aside for
protection. It encourages us to believe that only parks and protected districts, and not the places
where we live and work and play, deserve our care.

Billboards Destroy Trees

Thousands of trees are destroyed each year to improve motorists views of billboards. Although
billboards are located on private land adjacent to the right-of-way, some states allow billboard
companies to cut trees on publicly-owned land, paid for with taxpayer dollars. In a short-lived
tree-cutting effort in Georgia, more than 347 tree-trimming permits were filed with the DOT in
less than 6 months. Fortunately, the Georgia Supreme Court recently ruled that policy
unconstitutional. According to a 1986 report by the U.S. General Accounting Office, over 1100
trees were cut in Louisiana so that billboards at just two different sites were visible from a
nearby highway.

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