Stop Vandalism in U.S. National Parks

Target: Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the U.S. National Park Service

Goal: Stop defacing historic sites and wildlife in U.S. National Parks.

Park rangers in Arizona’s Saguaro National Park were alarmed after recently discovering 16 graffiti “tags” painted or carved onto saguaro cactus leaves. Defacing cactus leaves has a serious negative effect; the graffiti inhibits the plant’s ability to obtain energy from sunlight. Overall, at least 45 tags were found throughout the park; this is the latest example of a recent increase in vandalism on public lands.

Although graffiti has always occurred in national parks, park officials state that this trend is something new. The vandalism has not been limited to wildlife; for example, Colorado’s Rattlesnake Canyon had to be closed in order to protect the area’s archaeological sites and native art. Park rangers believe that social media may have a prominent role in these incidents; vandals have been taking photos of their graffiti and posting it on the Internet. There is even a group on Flickr (an image hosting site), called “vegaffiti”, that documents this recent behavior.

Cleaning up graffiti tags can be expensive; costs typically run into the hundreds and thousands of dollars. Park rangers have been doing their best to deal with the problem; some officials have even resorted to combing through social media sites in order to find evidence of vandalism. For example, two students were fined $15,000 after photos of their tags were found on Facebook. Infrared cameras, normally used to monitor animal behavior, have also caught vandals in the act.

By signing this petition, you are helping to support the National Park Service’s efforts to stop vandalism on public lands. In order to protect the nation’s pristine wildlife and historic sites, we must continue to discourage and prevent these destructive acts from occurring.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Jarvis,

Park rangers in Arizona’s Saguaro National Park were alarmed after recently discovering 16 graffiti “tags” painted or carved onto saguaro cactus leaves. Defacing cactus leaves has a serious negative effect; the graffiti inhibits plant photosynthesis. Overall, at least 45 tags were found throughout the park; this is the latest example of a recent increase in graffiti on public lands. The vandalism has not been limited to wildlife; certain areas have been closed in order to protect archaeological sites and native art. Park rangers believe that social media may have a prominent role in these incidents; vandals have been taking photos of their graffiti and posting it on the internet.

Park rangers have been doing their best to deal with this issue; some officials have resorted to combing through social media sites in order to find evidence of vandalism. Infrared cameras, normally used to monitor animal behavior, have also caught vandals in the act. I applaud park rangers’ attempts to expose this behavior, but more can be done. I am urging the National Park Service to continue its efforts to stop vandalism on public lands. In order to protect the nation’s pristine wildlife and historic sites, we must continue to discourage and prevent these destructive acts from occurring.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: cogdogblog via Flickr

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3 Comments

  1. Robert Ortiz says:

    The national parks we have are small treasures, pleae show them respect.

  2. Ruth Rogers says:

    There is another place for graffiti — outside of the hurting the plants and hurting the parks.

  3. Kathleen Smith says:

    I hope the park rangers receive help in tossing out anyone who defaces our precious parks – trees, plants, bushes …. all that is contained within the park.

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