Vandal Defaces National Parks Across The West...And Documents It On Instagram

Vandal Defaces National Parks Across The West...And Documents It On Instagram

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. 

This beautiful trail in Canyonlands National Park will never be the same

A rock in Zion National Park is defaced in this screen shot from the creepytings tumblr.

Crater Lake in Oregon sits behind a graffiti covered rock.

Yosemite National Park was hit as well.

Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park

A screen capture of the graffiti left at Gin Mill in Denver, Colorado.

In case you were hoping this was chalk, it's not. It's acrylic, and the vandal has no problem admitting she is a "bad person"

Screenshots, story, and quote via Modern Hiker and Calipidder

Michael Bonocore's picture

Michael is a full time photographer, traveler and workshop teacher based out of San Francisco, California. Michael's passion lies in international photojournalism, which has brought him to lead photography workshops around the globe. Michael has written guest articles for companies such as Matador Networks, SmugMug, and Borrow Lenses.

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Ugh. She's like some of those urbex photographers who brag about trespassing and B&E. "I know I'm a bad person."

People wear that phrase as a badge of honor now.

She needs a sever beatdown.

I hope one day while she's painting an animal eats her and sh*ts her out all over one of the Parks she vandalized.

If that's what you're into... I'm not judging.

Hold that girl in the skimpy hiking clothes the person defacing the park? Let me say for the record, it's a terrible act.

But then again...

How awful.

That's disgusting. I hope she is punished heavily for defacing these beautiful places. She seems to think it's cool too. The Boy Scouts who knocked over that rock thought they were doing the right thing because of a safety issue (clearly not, but I do think intent should count for something). This girl seems to think it's cool and funny to do this and needs to understand it's not ok.

I am somewhat relieved to see that although she painted these, she says it's acrylic paint. It could be much worse if it was spray paint or something.

Hope she will fall of the mountain and break her neck

I really don't know why I am amazed by the comments and attention given to this "story", but I am. I am amazed that out of everything evil being perpetrated in the world, somebody painting on rocks deserves, no, requires our utmost attention and action. I read about this in a different article that condemned the woman as well. And the comments there were many and fueled with just as much vitriol and hate. The cry for government to save the parks by capturing this person and locking them up has been raised. The fact that government is only interested in violence and not the environment doesn't matter. But judging from the comments a great many people would be completely satisfied to have their sadism satiated in such ways.

There are so many greater concerns for humanity than someone painting rocks. How many people see, or hear, or partake in spanking children? This gross abuse of arbitrary authority that is inflicted upon helpless children should be at the forefront of everyone's minds. Bringing children into person-hood is the next step to creating a moral, peaceful, productive world. If there ever was a person to socially ostracize it's a child abuser. But no, somebody painting rocks should be tortured, and dismembered, and have their head on a pike at the highest peak for all to see. So everyone will know what becomes of people who paint rocks. And for the child abusers? A blind eye will be turned and excuses will be made. And the future will continue to suffer.

I'm not even sure why I am commenting at all. My response will just be trolled and/or attacked, with no actual arguments made. But oh well, if even one person reads this and changes their perspective it will have been worth it.

Is drawing on rocks the least of our worries? INDEED. I strongly agree that, as a society, we've got much bigger fish to fry if our goal is world peace.

However it is still people like this whose general outlook on life and attitude of disrespect towards the world around them, I would argue, that is contributing to the decay of our civilization.

I'll admit I'm being highly judgmental and unfair / mean, but when I look at her mugshot and the pic of her "in action", I see nothing but a self-absorbed, narcissistic kid who has never had someone teach them a lesson, never been told they can't or shouldn't do something, and simply never been taught to respect others and the world around them.

So yeah, maybe we should focus more on the people who brutally murder each other in the streets of violent countries. Or maybe we should focus more on how the global upper class is taking advantage of the rest of the world's willingness to work for terrible wages in cancerous factories somewhere in Asia.

But I still get pissed off when I see something like this...

It's quite hard to describe how annoying and sad it is to see someone so self entitled that they feel it's ok to deface nature in such a way. It just hits a nerve I suppose because it's so needless and preventable.

Hoping a vandal is caught and punished does not equal putting their head on a spike. I want this person caught and punished so that she learns defacing nature isn't cool. It has nothing to do with my position on child abusers.

And for the record, my child, whom I consider my responsibility to bring up as a moral, peaceful, and productive person, wants the vandal caught too. I have taught him that we respect people, animals, and the planet we live on. Vandalizing nature is just as violent as vandalizing someone's house because it IS someone's house.

The cry for the government to bring this person to justice is fairly reasonable. The national parks exist for a reason... to preserve nature in its raw form, in part for us to enjoy. Allowing vandals to tag it is not keeping a somewhat natural setting. And considering our tax dollars are spent on this, it seems like a reasonable request.

Don't you know that there are children in sex trafficking? I am amazed at the attention given to spanking when there are much worse atrocities in the world. Unbelievable.

She should be very glad that I did not come across her in the act of such vandalism. I'd have clubbed her half to death with my tripod.

Maybe someone will tattoo her body all over. No respect.

It'd really be a shame if this "artist" "lost their footing" while working. It'd be a tragic loss.

I'm a bit confused: so we mass-destroyed nature and keep destroying it every day even more. Whatever little is left we called national parks, and protect them, while blowing up rock masses just to find jewels and cutting down rain forests just for wood. Again The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave paintings we are calling priceless, and calling this lady a criminal? We are talking about acrylic paint! It's not like she took a dynamite and blew up something there. How many people trashed something in a park - wrapping from a candy or a glass bottle? I do not say that what she did is good, but reading all the comments here, and the whole movement of ppl again this girl seems very cynical and hypocritical.