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National Parks Vandalism Cleanup On Hold During Investigation

Image widely posted on social media of alleged vandalism at Crater Lake National Park
Image widely posted on social media of alleged vandalism at Crater Lake National Park

Although the National Park Service regularly deals with vandalism – especially in parks set in urban areas - spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet called the case especially egregious.

Picavet says the current case is complex to investigate because of the number of locations and the geography involved.

Eventually, each individual park will be responsible for removing the images. First, park officials will have to determine the best way to clean up, which will depend on where the images are located, what kind of surface they are drawn on or carved into, and what kind of medium is used.

“It doesn’t seem like it happens here much at all,” she said. “Other parks suffer more.”

That’s the situation nationally as well. the National Park Service's Picavet said her agency has 20,000 employees to manage 80 million acres, so the public and social media are integral parts of protecting parklands.

“Social media has definitely made this a much larger conversation than we’ve seen in a long time,” she said. “Hopefully what it’ll do is help in the future, stop this from happening.”

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Jes Burns is a reporter for OPB's Science & Environment unit. Jes has a degree in English literature from Duke University and a master's degree from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communications.