ESCALANTE, UT (ABC4 News) – It may seem harmless but cases of graffiti in Utah’s public lands is illegal and can do serious damage to the areas.
“You know the vast majority of people who love the public lands go out there to appreciate the beauty, and just these actions of a few people can really spoil the experience for many, many people,” said Jeff Fontana with the Utah Bureau of Land Management.
This particular case of vandalism was reported on Saturday at Zebra Slot Canyon at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, an area known for it’s colorful and curvy walls.
It seems Kenny and Aryn wanted to solidify their love for each other on the face of those walls because a hiker stumbled upon the graffiti on Saturday and reported it to the Bureau of Land Management. Though Kenny and Aryn’s show of affection seemed harmless it is actually against the law.
“There are criminal penalties that can be applied for vandalizing public property,” added Fontana.
Not only can a person face serious charges for this vandalism but it it s costly task for park rangers to clean up. It can also be very time consuming.
“They have to use wire brushes, spray bottles, sometimes even tooth brushes, you know, to remove those marks from the rocks and to feather it, so you can’t tell that the graffiti was even there,” says Fontana.
Last year the BLM cleaned up 12,000 square feet of graffiti on Utah’s public lands. The BLM places signs throughout Utah’s public lands to remind people vandalism wont be tolerated and ask visitors to be vigilant. To report any suspicious activity.
The BLM has a crime hotline where visitors can call to report vandalism or any crimes happening on Utah’s public lands. That number is 1-800-227-7286.
Fontana says though this sort of clean-up is an inconvenience to park rangers, they say it’s a necessary task worth taking to ensure all Utahn’s can appreciate the beauty of our public lands.
The BLM also says not only does this type of vandalism do harm to the natural resources in the area but it also puts at risk cultural and historical resources, which could deprive future generations the ability to learn about the earliest Utahns.