Earlier this year we told you about a flagrant act of vandalism along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, where someone went crazy on all-terrain vehicles on the Max Patch bald along the Tennessee-North Carolina line. Now we can tell you a man has been convicted of vandalism in connection with the incident and sentenced to three months in jail.
Tyler Pace, 24, of Canton, North Carolina, was handed the sentence Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis Lee Howell.
"This sentence sends a message to vandals that damaging our public lands will not be tolerated," United States Attorney Anne Tompkins said in a prepared statement.
Prior to his sentencing hearing, Mr. Pace paid restitution for his share of the damage to Max Patch.
According to the U.S. attorney, Mr. Pace was with a group of men "who illegally drove vehicles in the Max Patch area in January 2013, causing more than $5,000 of damage to that scenic area. Pace facilitated that damage by tearing down the entrance gate and fence, thereby enabling the other persons to drive their vehicles into the protected area where vehicles are prohibited."
Max Patch sits next to the Tennessee state line in the Harmon Den area and is intersected by the Appalachian Trail. At 4,629 feet in elevation, this bald offers 360-degree vistas of Mount Mitchell to the east and Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the southwest. An abundance of ferns and grasses blanket the area making it perfect for picnics.