Outdoor enthusiasts and landscape photographers have been beside themselves with anger and bewilderment this week after Modern Hiker told the story of a 20 something New York woman who was painting "art" in National Parks all along the western United States. What gave her away? She was brazen enough to document it on her Instagram account.
Rebecca from Calipidder first noticed something amiss when she saw a photo on Reddit of what appeared to be graffiti along a trail in Vernal falls. The vandal had left the signature "creepytings". Angry and curious, she searched Instagram and quickly found an account that matched. Within the first couple of photos, she noticed not one, but two additional photos of graffiti "art". One was from Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, and the other at Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park. Based on the Instagram photos, Rebecca quickly realized this woman had also visited beautiful locations like Bryce and Joshua Tree. She quickly started posting notices on the affected National Parks' Facebook pages, informing them of the Instagram account, as well as a tumblr account which had photos of defaced rocks in Zion and Canyonlands. She learned that an investigator from the National Park Service was already made aware, and was activly investigating. The National Park Service issued a statement regarding this matter.
Since the story broke, the Instagram account is now down. While the tumblr page is being active (and combative), Casey from Modern Hiker doesn't think the account is being updated by the alleged vandal. He says:
It is my opinion that this Tumblr account is NOT operated by Casey Nocket. The new Tumblr blog only goes back as far as when the original version was taken down, the visual and writing style is completely different, and the new content seems more interested in stirring up controversy via combative language and buzzwords like “mansplaining.” As it goes for all trolls, I would encourage everyone to ignore this new Tumblr blog – and hope that all the new journalists who are coming to the story don’t associate this new content with Ms. Nocket.
No matter who is controlling that account now, the damage that this criminal has caused in her vandal spree across the west is sickening. These National Treasures are tirelessly protected and maintained by the NPS employees and volunteers, and to have all their hard work disrespected is an insult to us all. These lands are some of the last pristine pockets of true wilderness left in this country, and they have been forever defaced by a criminal who gets her kicks out of seeing her "art" get a couple likes and comments online.
I will keep up with this story and try to provide updates as they become available.