SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4) – Rangers at Zion National Park say clearing 150 square feet of graffiti took 35 hours of work, seven rangers and volunteers to clean up the vandalism.

According to Jonathan Shafer, the public affairs specialist for Zion National Park, it damages natural and cultural resources.

“The things that we’re most excited about are being able to be out in the park, so this is necessarily not the reason we would want to go out into the park,” he says.

Rangers say having to clean up graffiti pulls them away from other duties in the park, making it challenging for them, especially during a time when there are staffing shortages.

“We have to respond to all kinds of incidents inside of the park having staff go to clean areas that have been vandalized is really important to us because we want to make sure this place stays as spectacular as it is now forever,” says Shafer.

Shafer says if someone sees graffiti in the park, report it to officials right away.

“We want to make sure that visitors know where they can go to share information if they see someone doing something that could be hurting the park, so that’s really the takeaway here if you see something, say something,” he says.

Rangers suggest taking a photo, drawing a picture, writing a letter or postcard, or sharing your experience on social media rather than leaving markings on nature.

According to a post on the park’s Facebook here are some ways to follow the ‘leave no trace’ principles:

  • Planning ahead and preparing: Check our website before you visit for trail conditions and current operations.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces: Protect vegetation and fragile cryptobiotic soils by staying on established trails.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Carry out all trash, including food wrappers, fruit peels, and nutshell. Dispose of waste in a proper trash can or dumpster.
  • Leave what you find- Leave the park in a natural state for others to enjoy. Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Minimize campfire impacts: When permitted, fires are only allowed in established fire rings in the campgrounds.
  • Respect wildlife: Zion is home to many wild animals. Help keep them wild and healthy by viewing them from a safe distance.
  • Be considerate of other visitors-Let the natural sounds of Zion prevail. Use headphones when listening to music and avoid using loud voices.