John Smolinski and I were out again this morning searching for Michael Rodriguez, the 58-year old missing man from Azusa, when we stumbled upon a rock shelter about three-quarters of a mile northeast of the Juniper Flats Backcountry board. Much to our surprise we found the shelter to have a half-dozen large, and freshly painted graffiti panels inside. Both of us being lovers of natural settings were heartbroken by the trash painted on the beautiful natural rock formation.
This is not an isolated incident in Joshua Tree by any means, the last couple of years the park has had their fair share of high-profile vandalism cases. In 2013 there was vandalism in Rattlesnake Canyon, which closed the area for several months. In 2014, there was Casey Nocket, and in 2015 Mr. Andre, a world-famous douche-bag (artist) that left graffiti near a trailhead. Barker Dam was also closed for a period to remove hundreds of names that had been carved into it.
The question is, why does Joshua Tree seem to attract a larger number of doche-bags than other National Parks, and what can be done to curb this disgusting new trend?
Upon leaving the park, we reported the site to a park ranger.
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