November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Graffiti and Government Bullcrap
Display Avatars Sort By:
Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/09/2009 09:04:37 MDT Print View

While out trail running yesterday I found that one of my local waterfalls was completely destroyed with graffiti; every boulder surrounding it, the walls, the trees, everything covered in paint. It was the worst I've ever seen in the outdoors.
I stopped at the visitor's center on the way out to make sure they knew about it.

They knew about it.

At least five people, all sitting around in offices, they all knew about it.

I was told that they "sometimes" send people out to clean graffiti but that "technically" all of the canyon past a bridge (including the waterfall) is USFS property.

So they can't really touch it.

So they only paint over graffiti UP TO the bridge.
Everything else stays. Other graffiti has now been there for at least 5 weeks.

I said I could be back tomorrow to start cleaning it.

He said I can't and shouldn't do that- but I was thanked for my concern as he went back to sit at his desk for the remainder of the day.

So I guess I know what I'll be doing this evening.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 06/09/2009 09:50:28 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/17/2015 22:19:17 MDT.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: graffitti. on 06/09/2009 10:14:11 MDT Print View

It's totally art though, man. Freedom of expression. Do you hate the 1st Amendment or something?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/09/2009 10:14:45 MDT Print View


This is why I am an advocate to eliminating roads into all National Parks and similar national treasures. We should start with Yosemite and Yellowstone. If you can't hike in, then you don't go. Let revert to the state we found it in.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 06/09/2009 12:10:02 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/17/2015 22:29:03 MDT.

Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap - Nick on 06/09/2009 12:38:26 MDT Print View


I've noticed you mentioned this statement before and I found myself initially embracing the idea. Then I started thinking about all the people who can't hike, the elderly, people who have medical and physical problems, kids that can't cover distances, and people with endless ailments who couldn't make the trip. I think everyone, within reason, is entitled to see National Parks as they belong to everyone. My "within reason" statement follows any topic in which general American "freedoms" are discussed as I don't believe any "freedom" is 100% which is an inherent misinterpretation of the intent by our forefathers as I don’t think anyone is entitled to do “whatever they want” in any setting. Along this topic, I think reasonable accommodations needs to be made for everyone regardless of their physicality with limits on the disruption of the environment and other people. “Reasonableness” is the key. ATV’s scarring the land, disturbing natural sounds, and causing unnecessary pollution is an example of something I don’t think is reasonable. A road to a centralized scenic area with foot paths for those interested in going deeper is an example of something I think is reasonable. Simply saying only people with the capacity, ability, and interest to see part of America isn’t something I think is reasonable and actually discriminates a good portion of the population.

Regarding tagging and graffiti, I wouldn’t consider either to be “art”. They are merely nuisances from ego-driven vandals and an abuse of the environment which we all share. They may be artistic in nature, which is fine and I wholly admit that many are quite talented, but there are appropriate applications for art of all shapes and sizes and those applications shouldn’t deface the side of a building, a car, a sign, a rock, etc. unless that was the desired intent from the owner.

My two cents.

Edited by regultr on 06/09/2009 13:40:19 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: graffitti vs. tagging. on 06/09/2009 12:38:40 MDT Print View

Graffiti is art, no doubt about it.
Everything is art.
It's just that some art sucks and some art doesn't.
Problem is, by definition, graffiti is usually on property that doesn't belong to the artist.

Tagging vs. graffiti?

Most graffiti artists differentiate themselves from "taggers" by the "quality" of the art.

But who judges this quality?

I could care less if it was the reincarnation Michelangelo himself out doing graffiti...If it's on my property without my permission there's nothing cool about it.

All sorts of folks profess to know and understand graffiti, it's roots, it's meaning, it's purpose in society, etc.

All that is fine and good until it's on something you own or love.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap - Craig on 06/09/2009 13:02:49 MDT Print View

Jolly Green Giant:
I don't believe I've ever said access should be limited/roads shouldn't be built into parks.

I think you're referring to Nick's post.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap - Craig on 06/09/2009 13:15:06 MDT Print View

Maybe if there was a law that graffiti artists will have a faithful reproduction of their art tattoo'd onto their legs, arms torso (and if we run out of space on the 6th offence - their forehead), the general standard would improve, and the volume diminish.

Dylan Skola
(phageghost) - F

Locale: Southern California
Rangers, graffiti and access roads on 06/09/2009 13:36:54 MDT Print View

Don't build any more roads in parks. Have a giant parking lot at the entrance and let people ride bikes or walk through the park. Shuttle buses for the aged and infirm. That was Abbey's idea and I'm all for it. Motorized tourism in these areas is a blight.

Not sure that would apply to the OP's "local waterfall" though. And his story about the rangers brings to mind another Abbey quote from the same chapter of Desert Solitaire:

"Put the park rangers to work. Lazy scheming loafers, they’ve wasted too many years selling tickets at toll booths and sitting behind desks filling out charts and tables in the vain effort to appease the mania for statistics which torments the Washington office. Put them to work. They’re supposed to be rangers— make the bums range; kick them out of those overheated airconditioned offices, yank them out of those overstuffed patrol cars, and drive them out on the trails where they should be, leading the dudes over hill and dale, safely into and back out of the wilderness. It won’t hurt them to work off a little office fat; it’ll do them good, help take their minds off each other’s wives, and give them a chance to get out of reach of the boss— a blessing for all concerned."

Of course, in this case it's an issue of jurisdiction. If they were to clean up the graffiti on USFS land without filing form 721L.89076(32b) . . . well I shudder to think of the consequences!

Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Re: Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap - Nick & Rog on 06/09/2009 13:38:35 MDT Print View

Definitely correct Nick. Sorry about that!

I like Rog's idea...

Edited by regultr on 06/09/2009 13:39:39 MDT.

Dylan Skola
(phageghost) - F

Locale: Southern California
Grafitti on 06/09/2009 13:39:52 MDT Print View

BTW I am one of those who feels that most graffiti improves the look of otherwise sterile expanses of monolithic concrete. And some of it is quite good, like free public art. But on white-washed wood, no. On boulders and trees, never.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/09/2009 19:40:39 MDT Print View

"This is why I am an advocate to eliminating roads into all National Parks and similar national treasures. We should start with Yosemite and Yellowstone. If you can't hike in, then you don't go. Let revert to the state we found it in."

I'm with you 100% on this one, Nick. Unfortunately, the general tenor of the times is to make everything accessible to everyone. Drives me nuts for a lot of reasons, graffiti being one of them, but that's the way it is in the glorious new age of entitlement. No effort, no responsibility.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/09/2009 19:51:25 MDT Print View

Yes Tom,

It is the decline of western civilization at an exponential rate.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/09/2009 20:11:23 MDT Print View

"It is the decline of western civilization at an exponential rate." Indeed. We go where others have gone before. Of late, I have come to wonder if the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to societies as well as the physical world.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Honey, pass the Wilderness. on 06/09/2009 21:10:38 MDT Print View

"This is why I am an advocate to eliminating roads into all National Parks and similar national treasures. We should start with Yosemite and Yellowstone. If you can't hike in, then you don't go. Let revert to the state we found it in"

The beginnings of an anarcho-primitivist philosophy!
You guys are halfway there.
As for reverting to the "state we found it in", that would require, oh...just the simple task of dismantling
industrial civilization.
Reverting to the state we found it in is a super idea, but why stop at only the parks?

Wasn't everything once a big park?

Isn't it kinda silly to have a bona-fide Garden of Eden surrounded by freeways, tract housing, smokestacks, and landfills?

But ending industrial civilization? This Craig guy talking CRAZY. I like my "wilderness" in a neat little box where I can come and go as I please.

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: Honey, pass the Wilderness. on 06/09/2009 21:21:25 MDT Print View

craig, i have to say i enjoy your posts. and BTW i would go out and clean it up if you want, you surely aren't going to get into more trouble than the ones who put it there in the first place. and i would ask the rangers if you are 'allowed' to pack out others trash you find along the way as well.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/10/2009 03:49:05 MDT Print View

Nick, Dylan, Tom,

I disagree with your position on roadless national parks. This is something that initially sounds like a great idea, but upon further inspection turns out to be a Bad Idea. (Sort of like communism.) The national parks, after all, have a different mission that the wilderness areas. I think the national parks are MEANT to be accessable to all- even if only parts of them. Thus the crowds at Old Faithful and the mob standing under Half Dome.

It seems like you want to change all national parks into wilderness- which I guess I'm against. By all means, I'm for preserving whatever we can in the national parks, but excluding anyone who has ever had an injury that prevents him from hiking strikes me as, well, un-American. And long, long after I can no longer hike I still expect to be hitting the parks in my walker... :-)

OTOH, I think that we already have enough excellent parks, and we should concentrate on designating more wilderness.

If you want wilderness then, by all means, go to to a wilderness. For that matter large parts of some parks ARE designated wilderness, now. Rocky Mountian National Park is almost all wilderness IIRC, with the passage of the recent Omnibus bill.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/10/2009 05:55:16 MDT Print View

I think I disagree slightly on the matter as well, as beneficial as eliminating vehicular access to National Parks may sound in preserving what it once was, it goes against everything these parks were established to be, timeless areas of beauty that every visitor can escape to for a period of time, forgetting everything that reminds us of the hectic world we live in. This idealistic notion is to me, very unreal and polarizing to a lot of people, maybe even slightly elitist, even though the intentions are noble in desiring to preserve and defend what little nature we have left.

The problem to me is much more elemental than mere roads, rather the attitudes and culture of our nation is degrading and the lack of respect and reverence for the great things in life unfortunately extend to the far reaches of our lives and National Parks are unfortunately no exception. Maybe the lack of education is at the core of the problem, the more awareness we bring to these issues the better I think. I think Craig was right on in confronting the park staff and a healthy dose of anarchy for the good of our National Parks is well deserved. I say anarchy because cleaning up trash and conservation seems to go against the status quo today, apparently the national park staff he confronted are okay with the status quo.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/10/2009 10:34:04 MDT Print View

In my opinion - which usually tends to tick people off:

Yes, I say turn most of the parks into wilderness. Yosemite is no longer a "timeless area of beauty" and I do not need to escape from my world into a wilderness or national park. I like the world I live in, and my forays into the wilderness enhance my life.

I have been to Yosemite two times in my life. The first was in 1971, when I hiked from the southern most part of the Sierras to Yosemite. I did not go all the way into the valley, when I saw the smog and crowds. I turned around and went back home the way I came. That was also my last trip on the JMT and hike up Mt Whitney, because there are to many people on the trail. It is my choice not to return.

The 2nd trip was in 2004, when I took my son who was 18 at the time. He wanted to go, because it was a trip we had never done together. I did not see timeless beauty, but then I was probably wearing blinders. I saw pollution of all kinds; smoke, car fumes, noise, trash, etc. The animals are not wild, they are humanized and that is often their death. Too many people there do not respect the national park, because of the easy access. If they had to hike in, they would not go.

I saw defaced trees and rocks. I saw overused trails, cement trails, meadows mushed and compacted by boots, and trails sprinkled with litter. Is this how we preserve our national treasures for future generations?

I could go on, but I think my point is made.

As for access to all, at what point do we draw the line? Should we build a tram to the top of Mt Whitney and Mc Kinnley, because too many people cannot hike to the top? I live at the base of Mt San Jacinto, and rarely go there, because the Palm Springs Tram deposits thousands of people into the "wilderness" each year. This wilderness does not feel like wilderness. Trails are lined with wooden curbs made of dead trees, to keep morons off the sensitive land. Areas are roped off, because people have damaged them. Metal interpretive signs dot the landscape. The worse is "Meet Jeff" that is placed in front of a Jeffery Pine. Let the people buy a book if they want to figure out what they are looking at.

And yes, I can/do most of my hiking in the wilderness areas. That is what I have been doing for 40 years, mostly because of the points made above. If I venture into a non-wilderness area, I do it during the off season, when there are not crowds. But I am always sickened when I see the damage done by others. There are so many pristine places I can and do hike, I do not need to go into the heavily populated areas of our National Parks. I am fine with that. But our national treasures are becoming filthy Wal Mart parking lots with crime, filth, and a city-like experience.

With the population explosion, our national parks can no longer absorb all this abuse.