Beautifully written by a Friend, Nikki Hodgson.
In 1927, a Swedish immigrant built a small house on top of a hill in the middle of the Lost Horse Valley, just south of Quail Springs. John Samuelson, who was later acquitted of murder and escaped from a state hospital in 1930, spent his free time carving his political beliefs into the rocks alongside his homestead. Over 80 years later and you can still read his misspelled words carved neatly into the rocks of what is now Joshua Tree National Park. His messages have become part of the park, the ugly scratches turned into artwork, reclaimed by the desolation of the desert.
I try to remember this when I hear that parts of the park are now closed to the public because of repeated vandalism, struggling to view the defaced and spray painted rocks through the lens of history.
Is there anything climbers can do about this?
The popular Indian Cove accessible crag known as Rattlesnake Canyon has been closed to all access while the JTNP deepens the investigation of the vandals defacing rock and creating blight in our National Park.
Here is what the mainstream media is saying http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-joshua-tree-graffiti-20130413,0,3668905.story
This link will take you to the official announcement by JTNP on the closure.
“We hope it’s isolated. We’re hoping that the public will help us out by reporting any damage or vandalism that they see.” One ranger said to the Press.
FOJT and the Access Fund are in dialogue with the Park on remedies and potential activation of the climbing community to combat this epidemic of impact and poor taste. Please feel free to share your feelings, or better yet solution ideas, to this blog and we will air them at our Board Retreat nexst week.
This is sad and so utterly clueless… please let your friends know that this happened in one of our country’s treasured National Parks and is plain stupid. Though this is clearly not the work of climbers, it encourages the Park to focus on it’s mission of protection as opposed to improving the experience for outdoor rec enthusiasts.
Here is a recent LA Times article announcing the closure of access to the Dam and some surrounding trails that access it.