SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4) – Rangers from Zion National Park have been noticing an uptick in vandalism targeting Utah’s national parks.

Recently, multiple instances of graffiti have been found throughout several areas inside park grounds.

The National Park Service (NPS) is asking the public to help stop the defacement of the park’s “natural beauty” as officials work to rehabilitate the vandalized, damaged areas.

Park officials say rangers and volunteers have been spending many hours cleaning “unnecessary vandalism” such as stickers, permanent markers, rock and tree carvings and graffiti spray paint.

NPS says efforts to remove vandalism take away time that could’ve been spent on visitor services or park research. 

In the most recent cleanup case, a group of seven park rangers worked over 35 hours to remove 150 square feet of spray paint.

“It took time and skill to remove the paint without permanently hurting the surface of the rock,” says NPS.

The cleaning process remained careful to avoid harming slow-growing lichens and the post-cleanup process ensured local wildlife would not be harmed by cleaning chemicals in the future.

Park officials are hoping this incident doesn’t continue happening in the future and are asking the public to report any suspecting vandalism acts to a park ranger. If caught, perpetrators could face a class B misdemeanor punishable with a prison sentence, a $5,000 fine or a combination of both.

If a park ranger is not nearby, eyewitnesses should take a picture of the defacement and report it to the nearest National Park Service staff member.

The public can also provide an anonymous description of what they saw by:

“We need your help to make sure visitors can enjoy Zion today and forever,” says NPS.