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  • Writer's pictureTrail Guide Joe

Vandalism in the Parks? Not Cool!

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

It's time we talk about a serious problem plaguing our beautiful lands all across the world. Be it a national or local treasure, beautiful, natural landscapes are being destroyed for no better reason than to leave a mark to say, "I was here". No matter what the reason or how it's done, leaving your mark is vandalism when you don't have the permission of the governing authority to do such a thing.


Paint Tagging

You've seen it before. Spray painted graffiti, probably on abandoned buildings, bridges, and other structures, usually letters or numbers identifying the tagger or some image the tagger felt was particularly significant to display at that spot. It's not pretty in the city and it's definitely not pretty in a full on clash with natural beauty.

I'm sure the "artists" behind these painted rocks felt they were improving on an ordinary, ugly looking rock but failed to see how they were detracting from the whole of the natural beauty of the scenery. This display only goes to show humankind's blind eye to simple beauty. It's all just senseless destruction.


Carving

You've probably seen this before too. Someone has carved their initials into a bathroom stall wall or door. Not the best reading material if you ask me. Almost always not suitable for children... Back outside again, you can find the same carvings in trees and scenic overlook structures. Not only is it unsightly in all cases but it damages and sometimes even kills the tree. I certainly don't plan to go out into the woods to see something like these bamboo, again, senselessly butchered.


Utter Destruction

This one comes in many forms, rarely accompanied by good intentions, but it always involves completely eliminating what once was. As a personal example I witnessed, in my trip to Glacier National Park, a group of high schoolers that decided to "pick" flowers from along the trail. By "pick" I mean these plants were just plain old uprooted leaving no chance to grow again next year. Aside from eliminating the chance for subsequent visitors to ever see these plants growing in the wild, they left nothing more than a noticeable bare spot and an unsightly hole in the ground where the roots of the plant once sprawled.

You might be thinking, "OK a handful of kids pulled a few flowers, no big deal. There is plenty more to see so just get over it." OK, fair point. But as long as just a few of the millions of yearly visitors inflict this level of destruction on their visit, there will be something to see elsewhere. But it's just that, yearly visitors in the millions. More of these visitors might even be influenced witnessing this behavior and start doing as they please as well until there is nothing left to see. Perhaps a better thought is "either everyone gets to or no one gets to". I personally think the latter is more sustainable.


If there is one thing I know, our parks are the last places that need "human improvement" of this sort. They were selected and set aside for the benefit and enjoyment of all - just as they are. There are, in many cases, regulations against all these destructive actions in order to preserve these natural treasures. So why are we protecting these treasures from commercial logging, mining, and oil drilling if we're just going to destroy them anyway? Be kind to the great outdoors and leave it where you found it - as long as it belongs there.


Happy Trails!


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