Arches Park’s graffiti was discovered by workers last week, and now the authorities want the public’s help to identify whoever is responsible. The graffiti markings were found at Frame Arch, Arches National Park Superintendent Kate Cannon said.
The vandalism was “expansive,” according to Cannon. “It must have taken a long time,” she said. “It may have been (done by) a couple of different people.” Cannon also said the markings are etched very deep into the rock, FOX News reports.
The Arches Park’s graffiti reveal names etched on the rock at Frame Arch, which include “Staten” and “Andersen. Cannon said she hopes someone will come forward to ensure those who made the markings are held responsible.
“It’s destructive and it … mars the experience of those who come to enjoy the place in its natural state,” she said. The superintendent added graffiti is a growing concern at Arches National Park.
“We’ve seen an explosion of graffiti over the last several years,” Cannon said. “We’re constantly working to remove it. It’s gotten so huge. It gets huge because it becomes accepted in the public mind.”
It requires hundreds of hours of volunteer work to rid the area of graffiti, Newser reported. Graffiti etched on rock has to be ground off or filled in and covered up, but in some instances can only be left as is, Cannon said.
Two years ago, at least eight national parks in the West began the delicate task of cleaning up graffiti paintings left on famous, picturesque landscapes. The damage was discovered after images were shared on social media.
The Arches Park rock formation, commonly known as Frame Arch, is off a popular hiking trail where visitors can look through it and view the park’s iconic, stand-alone Delicate Arch. Cannon said park workers can try to reduce the carving’s visibility by grinding down the rock around it, but that causes further damage to the surface.
Park officials also said they could also try to fill in the etchings with some kind of material that blends in, but it’s unclear if that would be a permanent or unnoticeable treatment. Defacing surfaces in the park is illegal and anyone caught can face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Social media seems to be a driver of increased vandalism, but Cannon said the Arches Park graffiti generally has become inexplicably popular among visitors.
“It is really overwhelming,” she said. Officials hope public outrage and vigilance can ease the problem.
“We take great pains to be out in the park and around where people are,” Cannon said of park ranger patrols. “Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere all the time.”