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Yosemite National Park graffiti vandalism leads NPS to ask

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Officials at Yosemite National Park are searching for a person or group who defaced trail blocks with graffiti.

The park turned to social media on Sunday, June 12, to ask the public for any assistance they can provide that’ll help Yosemite National Park catch whoever is responsible for the vandalism.

The graffitied blocks are near Yosemite Falls – a waterfall attraction in the California nature reserve.

Yosemite National Park is located in California’s famous landmark Sierra Nevada mountains.
(iStock)

Photos of the defaced trail blocks show the stones were tagged with blue and white spray paint. The tags make multiple references to the city of Fresno by name and area code. 

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Fresno is located about 90 miles south of the Yosemite Falls Trailhead.

Yosemite National Park believes the vandalism occurred on a specific day in May, according to a tweet the park posted Sunday. 

“[If] you were on the trail to the top of Yosemite Falls from 6-11 pm on May 20 and saw people tagging or with cans of spray paint, or have video/photo evidence, please go to http://nps.gov/ISB, then click on ‘Submit a Tip,’” Yosemite National Park tweeted. “Or email [email protected] or call/text 888-653-0009.”

An extended post the park made on Facebook specified that Yosemite National Park rangers “received multiple reports of vandalism” at around 8:15 p.m. on the night of May 20.

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“The following day, rangers went up to assess the damage and found about 30 sites along the Yosemite Falls Trail spray painted with white and blue graffiti,” the Facebook post continued. “The smallest being approximately one foot by one foot, but most being about three feet by three feet, and a few being larger than eight feet by eight feet.”

Rangers have identified potential suspects, but the park would still like the public’s help, especially if there’s visual evidence that shows the graffiti taggers caught in the act.

Yosemite National Park measures 759,620 acres and has an operating budget of approximately $30 million.

Yosemite National Park measures 759,620 acres and has an operating budget of approximately $30 million.
(iStock)

National parks are managed by the federal government. Damage intentionally applied to national parks can be deemed a federal misdemeanor that’s punishable with a $100 or $500 fine, three to six months of imprisonment or both a fine and imprisonment, according to Title 36 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.

The full code can be found on the U.S. Department of Justice Archives website.

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“Graffiti is vandalism, and is extremely difficult to remove,” the National Parks Service wrote in a 2019 article about the topic. 

Yosemite National Park welcomes millions of visitors each year, according to the National Park Service.

Yosemite National Park welcomes millions of visitors each year, according to the National Park Service.
(iStock)

“Repair of vandalized sites, if possible, is costly and time consuming, and often cannot restore the site to its former condition,” the article continued. “Defacing any part of the national park or other public land you visit hurts, and it degrades the experience of other visitors.”

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The NPS added that acts of vandalism can disturb wildlife or damage their habitats, which could “directly lead to their demise.”