ST. GEORGE — Zion National Park officials are using a recent example of graffiti in the park to illustrate the legal and social consequences that come with vandalizing the country’s natural treasures.
A man alleged to be responsible for writing on a portion of the park’s red-rock surface in permanent marker over the weekend is facing criminal and civil penalties, park officials said Monday, adding that the perpetrator left information that led other visitors and park officials to him on the internet.
See photo of the graffiti in the Facebook post by Joe Braun Photography below.
“The social media backlash for the perpetrator’s action has been swift and severe, prompting him to admit to the wrong-doing and cooperate fully with the on-going investigation,” the National Park Service said in a news release.
Park officials did not release the suspect’s name.
The graffiti came to light on social media over the weekend after photographer Joe Braun posted a photo of the vandalism on his Facebook page, expressing his frustration with the act.
“Graffiti like this is illegal and unwanted, and permanent marker takes a fair amount of professional effort to remove,” Braun said in the post.
The graffiti was found on the popular Angels Landing hike on a viewing area off the trail, Braun said, adding that there was more graffiti nearby.
“It makes me very sad that so many people don’t know how to behave in our national parks,” Braun said.
Park officials encourage visitors to report any type of illegal activity occurring in the park but also ask that visitors not cross the line of taking enforcement action themselves, Zion National Park Chief Ranger Daniel Fagergren said.
Braun echoed that sentiment in his Facebook post, stating:
I have been in contact with the person who did this and they have contacted Zion’s NPS to make it right. We all make mistakes and it’s great when people own up to them. Please don’t send any more hate mail to this person.
“The adages, ‘Take only photographs, leave only footprints,’ and ‘Leave No Trace,’ still apply in our National Parks and are keys to leaving the beautiful landscape unimpaired,” the park service news release reads.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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