ST. GEORGE — A recent example of graffiti left on a rock face in Zion National Park has prompted park officials to remind visitors of the permanent impact of vandalism in Utah’s most-visited national park.
The latest example of graffiti features triangular etchings in a rock face. Information about exactly when and where the graffiti was found in the park was not immediately available to St. George News.
In a social media post Sunday, the park service said this and other examples of graffiti do not qualify as artistic expression.
“As important as artistic expression is, we do not want to deface the natural resources of our beautiful public lands,” the post reads. “No matter how small or superficially drawn, graffiti in the park is vandalism.
“Humans have been leaving their marks on rock walls for thousands of years in this region. But these days, writing on the walls isn’t necessary, and in a national park, it’s illegal.”
Those found guilty of vandalism could face stiff penalties, including possible jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.
The park service calls graffiti a “growing problem for many national parks.” Just last month, a person who allegedly admitted to defacing a rock face in the park was cited.
Graffiti removal is an expensive, time-intensive effort conducted by park rangers and volunteers. Depending on the type of graffiti, brushes and spray bottles may be enough to remove it, but grinders and sledge hammers may be required for more severe vandalism.
Even after the graffiti is removed, the rock is still discolored, and, according to the park service, “will never be the same.”
Part of the National Park Service’s stated mission is to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations.”
As such, the park encourages visitors to “take only photographs” and “leave no trace.”
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