Yesterday, a Colorado public park shared photos of new graffiti and carvings on their iconic red rock formations while asking people to ‘visit the park with respect.’
Vandalism is on the rise at the Garden of the Gods at the foot of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. The most recent graffiti is the first names of eight people chiseled into the rock.
Among the comments on the Facebook post are complaints of litter too. The park, a National Natural Landmark, requests that visitors abide by leave no trace principles.
Vandalism appears to be on the rise since coronavirus started in March 2020. Multiple other national parks and recreation areas have reported similar issues. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Pennsylvania cited an over 600% increase in vandalism and illegal dumping, with 13 cases reported in April 2020 compared to only two the year before. Also, in April, the City of Rocks National Reserve in Idaho reported multiple graffiti incidents on prehistoric pictographs and signatures. In September 2020, graffiti along five miles of trail and illegal fires were reported in Acadia National Park, and Zion and Moab National Parks reported increased vandalism.
In Colorado, graffiti vandals face up to 18 months in jail and a fine of $5,000 if caught.