With travel bans and restrictions in place due to Covid-19, more and more people are staying domestic and venturing out to discover what the U.S has to offer. From national parks to state forests, to everything in between, this surge in domestic travel in causing a severe strain on these amazing destinations and the surrounding environment.
Zion National Park, located in Southwestern Utah, is falling victim to its own popularity. Over the summer, and now into the fall, the park has seen increased crowds, and with that, increased vandalism and graffiti.
“I have seen more graffiti than I have ever seen before. It’s all over, and we’re trying to get ahead of it.”
-Daniel Fagergren, Chief Ranger, Zion National Park
Earlier this summer, Zion National Park dealt with vandals who graffitied blue squares on the park’s iconic red rock. Now, the recent increase is more of the traditional scratching and carving graffiti, leaving behind names, sayings, and symbols.
Zion National Park attempts to clean the graffiti, but the damage is done and the environment is forever changed. The cleaning process is time-consuming, harmful to the environment, and increases the natural erosion of the rocks.
While I will never understand why someone would travel to a beautiful, awe-inspiring, national park and cause harm to it, it’s a serious problem. Whether you are a first-time visitor or an experienced backcountry enthusiast, its common sense to know our parks should be respected and taken care of. We only have one planet, let us educate ourselves and others and not ruin it for generations to come.
As a reminder, vandalism is illegal in Zion National Park and carries a maximum fine of $5,000 and/or up-to 6 months in jail.