Forest officials urge public to leave graffiti cleaning up to staff, volunteers


TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - After a picture of a graffiti tagged rock at Tanque Verde Falls made the rounds on the social media website, a user apparently picked up a wire brush and cleaning agents and scrubbed the rock clean.  That user then posted a picture of the cleaned rock on

Graffiti in national parks has sparked outrage from those who enjoy the outdoors.  About a month ago saguaro cacti and other plants were not only spray-painted at Saguaro National Park East, but they were later chopped down.  Park officials arrested two suspects for hacking down wildlife after their pictures were caught on game cameras placed near a trail head.

Heidi Schewel with the Coronado National Forest says incidents of graffiti on forest land, such as the tagging found and cleaned at Tanque Verde Falls, are infrequent.  Schewel also wants to discourage people from cleaning graffiti because they can get hurt venturing off trails or using the wrong materials.  She says the forest service has volunteers who are trained, and insured, to tackle vandalism.

The Coronado National Forest urges people to report graffiti. In the meantime rangers, and in some cases, Pima County Sheriff's deputies patrol forest land on the lookout for vandals.  Schewel says game cameras are another tool for catching criminals destroying national forests, but she stopped short of saying whether the Coronado National Forest is using that technology for surveillance.

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