Vandals Permanently Damage Mesa Verde National Park: ‘Why Do…People Do This?’

Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park is calling on visitors to rise to a higher standard after vandals left graffiti and litter throughout the park, even destroying cultural artifacts to do so.

“Why do you think people do this?” the park said in a Facebook post last week. “What do you think the intent is and what can we do as a culture to cut down on these occurrences?

“We are seeing a growing number of instances of intentional damage throughout NPS sites every year,” the post reads. “We are seeing more and more evidence of graffiti, vandalization, and intentional littering throughout Mesa Verde National Park.”

In one of the most recent cases, vandals scratched letters and shapes into prehistoric grinding slicks on the Petroglyph Point Trail, permanently damaging artifacts that have remained intact for thousands of years.

Other vandals rubbed their initials onto sandstone cliffs using prehistoric charcoal which a visitor dug up in an archaeological site along the Petroglyph Point Trail, destroying the charcoal.

Park officials are asking anyone who sees any vandalism or littering to report it to the nearest park ranger or to staff in the Chief Ranger’s Office.

“Thank you to all of the visitors who do visit with respect,” the post says. “Let us all leave no trace, educate others about proper stewardship of public lands, and enjoy these wonderful landscapes as they are.”



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