Protect Cannonball Concretions From Tourist Vandals

Target: Charles Sams, Director of National Park Service

Goal: Prevent acts of vandalism that do irreparable harm to natural formations in national parks.

The harassment of wildlife by national park tourists has spurred plenty of headlines, but animals are not the only parts of nature these reckless visitors are abusing. Parks countrywide have reported increased incidents of vandalism on natural surfaces. Some of the most exploited targets are the millennia-old majestic rock structures known as cannonball concretions.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is home to many of these awe-inspiring phenomena. The spherical formations can measure several feet and are a sight to behold. Unfortunately, many tourists are painting or carving into the rocks, accelerating erosion. And when park workers attempt to remove these acts of vandalism, the processes they must use (including sandblasting and chemical applications) can harm both the cannonballs and surrounding wildlife. In essence, careless people are destroying in hours, days, and months what it took Mother Nature thousands of years to create.

Sign the petition below to urge more protections for these irreplaceable wonders and stricter punishments for the individuals who willfully violate them.


Dear Director Sams,

While it may be unlawful to vandalize or alter any portion of a national park, many selfish and careless tourists are apparently not getting the message. The blatant harassment of wildlife is egregious enough. Now, park officials report that almost no natural formation within range goes unmarred by carving, painting, scratching, and other intentional acts of vandalism.

The beautiful cannonball concretions of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are a case study in unchecked and unpunished recklessness. These formations that are thousands of years old bear the names, drawings, and markings of countless tourists looking for a cheap thrill or a selfie opportunity. This disregard for America’s natural beauty must stop.

Whether the answer is strengthening penalties for violations, erecting protective barriers, or another solution, please do everything in your power to ensure the longevity of the concretions and other natural wonders that cannot be replaced.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mduchek

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