A federal judge in Flagstaff sentenced a Fredonia man to probation and to pay fines for damaging land at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.
According to information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Melvin Mognett, 67, will be on probation for three years and pay $7,500 in fines for the damage. He is also banned from U.S. Bureau of Land Management land during his probation. Mognett pleaded guilty last week to one count of off-road travel with resource damage.
According to the investigation, a BLM ranger on patrol on May 29, 2010, near the Lake Powell-Utah border found ATV tracks that went off road for 3 miles. When the ranger found Mognett, he matched the tracks with the tires on the ATV Mognett was riding.
Mognett admitted that he knew off-road travel was prohibited, but he had wanted to look more closely at geological and archeological sites.
Vermilion Cliffs is a 294,000-acre national monument that includes the Paria Plateau, Coyote Buttes and Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness.
“Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a national treasure, and inappropriate use of off-road vehicles can cause irreparable damage,” said Dennis Burke, U.S. Attorney for Arizona, in a press release.
Maximum penalty for a conviction for off-road travel with resource damage is a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.