One or more suspects have been cited for tagging a bridge at Mount Rainier National Park, the latest to be hit with what some consider an emerging scourge of graffiti in U.S. national parks.
Park visitors witnessed the vandalism, which occurred over the weekend, and reported the incident quickly enough for law-enforcement rangers to locate the suspects, according to Kathy Steichen, a spokesperson for Mount Rainier National Park.
Like national parks across the country, Mount Rainier is short on staff and budget, so the assistance by park visitors was invaluable, Steichen said today.
“They did the very best thing,” Steichen said.
The park is not prepared to release names, the number of citations issued, or the violations that were cited, Steichen said. The perpetrators were part of a group, she added.
The suspects tagged log railings along each side of the bridge over Edith Creek, above Myrtle Falls in the Paradise area of the park. Except for the bridge, the trail to Myrtle Falls and linking beyond to the Skyline Trail remain buried by about three feet of snow.
Defacing park property usually is a federal misdemeanor punishable by a fine, generally about $250, for first offenses, up to $5,000 and/or six months incarceration. More serious offenses, considered Depredation of Federal Property, can be pursued as misdemeanors or felonies punishable by fine or up to 10 years in jail for damage exceeding $1,000.
Graffiti damage has been “very uncommon at Mount Rainier,” Steichen said. It has been on the rise in other national parks, almost exclusively in the West.