Zion Vandalism Culprit Confesses After Harsh Social Media Reaction

Jun 29, 2018

Posted In: News

Zion Vandalism Culprit Confesses After Harsh Social Media Reaction

We’ve talked about Zion vandalism before on our blog. But this new incident that has reached mainstream news outlets recently on May 15, 2018, is perhaps one of the more unusual park vandalism-related stories in recent memory. The fact that Zion vandalism occurred is unfortunate and inexcusable, but the way the story unfolded is certainly of interest.

Popular Zion photographer and outdoor enthusiast Joe Braun was hiking the famous Angel’s Landing trail in Zion National Park and noticed some very clear and blatantly intentional Zion vandalism on a rock face. He snapped a photo of it. See below:

The photo shows some standard Zion vandalism fair (initials surrounded by a heart, dates) in addition to an instantly incriminating graffiti mark: the vandal’s Instagram handle, all written in permanent marker. Though it is not yet known if the same person who drew the Instagram handle is responsible for the other Zion vandalism markings, the fact remains that Zion vandalism is strictly prohibited and punishable by law and by writing their Instagram handle onto the rock, the defacer made themselves easy to track and publicly malign.

And that is exactly what happened. Mr. Braun posted the photo online in an effort to publicize the incident and raise awareness of the destructive nature of Zion vandalism. The backlash that “@suspencefitness” received was described as “swift and severe”, according to authorities. According to many news sources, the photo initiated a tidal wave of unhappy messages sent directly to the Instagram account in question “prompting him to admit to the wrong-doing and cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation.” The name of the person who runs the Instagram handle in question has not been revealed, but the Instagram account has since been changed or deleted.

Braun was quoted saying, “I spat some water at the writing and rubbed a bit just to see if it would come off easily. It would not; it looks like it was done in permanent marker … It makes me very sad that so many people don’t know how to behave in our national parks.” We echo Mr. Braun’s statement and hope that this event provides a very clear message that vandalism taking place in Zion National Park is not tolerated, in addition to the fact that there are countless park supporters and followers around the world who are swift to run to the park’s aid. Please do not be careless and assume that carvings and markings on rock faces and other surfaces within the park are harmless and can easily be cleaned up. Restoration in these circumstances is known to take many hours of work, not to mention that the efforts are costly and sometimes irreparable. A frivolous and spontaneous act of Zion vandalism, whether it be in the form of graffiti or not, is extremely irresponsible, damages the beauty of the park, degrades the experience of others, and is against the law.

The specific legal actions being taken against the individual for Zion vandalism in this case are pending but have not been made known to the public.

In the past, we have dedicated blog posts to park etiquette, safety, respect and Zion vandalism. Here are some links where you can find further information on the expectations of visitors and what types of behaviors are appropriate and what types are not.

How To Minimize Your Impact At Zion National Park

What Not To Do When Visiting Zion National Park

Recent Angel’s Landing Death Prompts Safety Reminders

Zion Vandalism Culprit Confesses After Harsh Social Media Reaction

Zion Vandalism

Article by Clear Content Marketing


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