By Phil Willon
“We come to this place because it’s not as touristy as surrounding national parks, and you don’t run into as many people. You kind of feel like you’re alone. In ancient times. There’s nothing like this place,” said Butch Wood, 51, a guitar builder visiting from North Aurora, Ill. “You don’t like to see the modern world intruding on history. It’s a shame.”
The graffiti in Rattlesnake Canyon, which meanders for a mile through the northern edge of Joshua Tree’s Wonderland of Rocks, started with just a few markings but quickly became rampant. Vandals bragged of their handiwork on social media sites such as Facebook, attracting their like-minded friends to the same spot, paint in hand, park service officials said.
In all, 17 areas of the canyon have been defaced by graffiti, including several historic Native American cultural spots.
Acts of graffiti have become so common at the Joshua Tree National Park's most popular hiking spots that officials have had to close them to the public, and they blame the big bump in vandalism on social media.
Rangers said they've found graffiti spray painted on 17 sites, including the famous rock formations and historic Native American sites, at the Southern California park's Rattlesnake Canyon.
For more on rock art vandalism, see Petroglyph Theft Is "Worst Act of Vandalism" and Red Rock Vandal Sentenced