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Saguaro Cacti Tagged By Vandals At Saguaro National Park


This saguaro was one of at least eight that were spray-painted by vandals at Saguaro National Park. NPS photo.

It appears little is free from graffiti vandalism, not even age-old saguaro cacti at Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona.

Park Superintendent Darla Sidles reports that at least eight saguaros and some boulders along the Douglas Springs Trail in the park's Rincon District were tagged by the spray-paint-wielding vandals sometime last weekend.

Some of the saguaros that were defaced were as much as 150 years old, according to the superintendent.

"They were seedlings during our nation's civil war and have stood this long inside what is now a national park-designated wilderness area, designed to protect them," Superintendent Sidles said in a news release.

Anyone with information about the vandalism can call the Saguaro National Park Information Hotline at 520-733-5150.


I totaly agree with your comment. 

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From the NPS Digest, Friday June 14

Conservation Corps Crews Clean Up Trail Graffiti

[Printer-friendly text version]

Members of the Southwest Conservation Corps assisted the park this week with the removal of graffiti along the Douglas Spring Trail, one of the park’s most popular trails. The clean-up project was arranged in response to last month’s vandalism, which included the tagging of 48 sites along three-and-a-half miles of this wilderness trail.

This incident was featured in a June 4th New York Times story on the upswing in vandalism in the national parks. Click on the “More Information” link below to see that article.

The SCC donated two, seven-person youth crews to the park to assist staff in cleaning rocks, water bars, and trail signs using “elephant snot”, a green product found to be effective in removing the graffiti paint. This product is also currently being tested on two of the eleven saguaros that were tagged. While it appears to be effective at removing paint from the saguaros, more tests and monitoring are needed to assure no additional damage is done through use of the product.

The Southwest Conservation Corps engages and trains a diverse group of young women and men and completes conservation projects for the public benefit. They will continue to work in the park over the next two weeks assisting with invasive species removal and trail maintenance.

More Information...

Contact Information
Name: Esther Rivera, Community Outreach Coordinator

Anybody else remember a few years back when justice was served on a man in Arizona who was shooting up a saguaro with his shotgun -- and part of it fell off and crushed him? Here's one link:

I wouldn't mind seeing the current perps tarred and feathered, at bare minimum...

i think those who are doing all these vandals are uneducated or if they are educated, they don't understand or doesn't care about how important is the nature in our ecosystems. i guess they will only care of it once they realize that it's all gone and it may be too late already. hope they can change their lifestyle in doing such act.

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Speaking of Dinosaur National Monument(not Park), there was an incident of vandalism in 2000 that actually resulted in conviction and time served! Felicity, you might look into the hand slaps that most vandals receive.

Felicity Barringer's article in the New York times was featured yesterday morning as an item in the NPS daily Digest. Here's a link:

And a link to the NPS Digest article:

Thanks, Felicity. Great work.

I grew up living in the National Parks and Saguaro was the first one. This trend is eveidence that "you can't fix stupid". Park funding to protect and educate visitors is one of the first to be cut and yet this is part of our history and heritage. I have had the privilege of living in areas that are the best part of our country. It breaks my heart that my grandchildren will not be able to see them without seeing evidence of the most irresponsible segments of our society.

Thanks to all who posted advice or contacted me separately. I'm on the case. And yes, I'm based in the SF Bay area, but I can certianly call the NYC-area parks. The thing that's interesting to me is that people are going so far away from urban areas to do their tagging.

And yes, "tagging" with bullets sure sems part of the same phenomenon.



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