Last updated: 04:30 PM ET, Thu April 30 2015

Graffiti in U.S. National Parks has Outraged Activists and Fellow Artists

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | April 30, 2015

Graffiti in U.S. National Parks has Outraged Activists and Fellow Artists

Photo via Twitter

At one point or another in all of our lives, we’ve had to see or deal with graffiti on the sides of buildings, bridges or even on trucks and trains. Now, tagging has also found its way into the national parks of the United States, and many people are furious about it.

Not only are hikers and nature enthusiasts standing together to share their outrage about the tagging being done on rocks and structures inside our historical parks, but even other graffiti artists are calling foul.

According to a report from Louis Sahagun of the Los Angeles Times, federal officials and the National Park Service admit incidents of graffiti being discovered on landmarks and throughout our nation’s parks are surging in some parks.

While the problem is slowing down in other parts of the nation, areas like Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the San Francisco Bay Area and Joshua Tree National Park outside Los Angeles are facing a heavy wave of taggers.

From a bright blue giraffe to giant images of skulls, graffiti artists are defacing portions of national treasures and getting away with it. One popular graffiti artist who has gained recognition for his work is Andre Saraiva, but even he has faced serious backlash due to the tags he left on a boulder in Joshua Tree.

In Sahagun’s report, he claims that Saraiva faced a strong negative reaction from hikers and graffiti artists alike, as well as a $275 fine. Fellow artist Kalen Ockerman told the Los Angeles Times, “Graffiti art is the honest voice of the dissatisfied soul — it's a political act. All Andre did was smear a work of art by mother nature with industrial chemicals to celebrate his own ego.”

Hikers and nature enthusiasts are doing their best to fight back by turning in people who post graffiti in national parks on social media, and the national park authorities are also stepping up efforts to thwart taggers.

Several parks have added hidden video cameras to catch perpetrators in the act, and the park service has developed a new visual database that can compare graffiti art that has been discovered in other areas.

Graffiti was never meant to follow the rules and has always been an art that has rubbed people the wrong way, but when other taggers are calling for the end of the assault on national parks, everyone should take note.

Keep the graffiti out of America’s parks.

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