Eleven people paid $407 each as part of the plea bargain for the vandalism. Nathaniel Clark of Canton and Dustin Morgan of Clyde were among the 11 who were charged. Most received citations for illegally driving off-road and in a biologically sensitive area and destruction of government property. Three more are expected to appear in court soon.
Max Patch is located in northern Haywood County along the Tennessee state line in the Harmon Den area. At 4,629 feet, the bald offers 360-degree vistas, making it a popular spot for picnics, day hikes, kite flying, star gazing and sunset viewing. The Appalachian Trail also crosses Max Patch.
Restoration work on Max Patch, to undo the damage caused by the off-road vehicles, has also come to a close. Dozens of volunteers and U.S. Forest Service staff worked throughout the winter and spring to finish up the task and return the popular site to its former condition. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Carolina Mountain Club and Appalachian 4x4 Club helped to make the repairs.