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Man Sentenced In Connection With Damage To Max Patch Bald On Appalachian National Scenic Trail


Dwayne Stutzman, an Appalachian Trail volunteer who helps maintain the section of trail that goes across Max Patch, took this photo soon after the damage to the bald was spotted early this year.

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.


Isn't it ironic that someone gets fined for tearing up a place that was created by clear cutting?

Max Patch is a natural bald and was not created by clear cutting. There are many such balds throughout the southern Appalachians. Not that it really makes a difference. The guy commited vandalism and should be punished to the full extent of the law no matter how the bald was created.

Sounds like he got off pretty lucky....

Gutz - agreed.

According to this website,, this spot was cleared in the 1800s and used as a pasture. Sorry if I was mistaken. Obviously, the idiots that torn up such a pretty spot should be punished no matter how it was created.

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