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S.C.V. History
January 28
1850 - Death Valley '49er William Robinson dies in Soledad Canyon from drinking too much cool water [story]
Leaving Death Valley

Take a Hike | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Jul 3, 2016

DianneErskineHellrigelA couple of years ago, I saw a photo on Facebook of a painted rock in Yosemite. The person who posted the photo was also the “artist,” and the photo had gone viral.

This girl seemed to be very proud of her “artwork,” but I was livid. My anger was palpable. How could she possibly have done this inside a national park? How could she even consider vandalizing these pristine areas? My next question was: Why hasn’t she been arrested?

The good news is that this vandal, Casey Nocket, had been arrested. Unfortunately, damaging government property (i.e., painting rock formations) is a mere misdemeanor with a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

She defaced property in Yosemite, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Colorado National Monument, Death Valley, Crater Lake, Zion, Joshua Tree National Park, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Bryce and Canyonlands.

vandal01Photos of the damaged areas were posted on several social media sites, bringing attention to the crime and causing the National Park Service to launch an investigation.

Not only did park visitors post photos, but Nocket also posted photos of herself next to the graffiti that she called art. Of course, this easily led to her arrest. It took about a year and a half to bring her to justice, but indeed she was caught, and she pleaded guilty to seven counts of defacing national parks.

Her sentence was way too light, in my opinion, for this despicable vandalism. Thus far she has been sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service. She will also have to pay restitution for the damage she caused. A future hearing will be held to determine the amount.

vandal07To me, this is a mere slap on the hand. I have spent years of my life protecting special places in California, and to see some of those places callously and maliciously painted with graffiti makes me furious. She deserves much worse.

Removing the paint can cause even more damage than she has caused already. And when it is removed, the residue can cause potential damage to animal and plant life for years. It can kill endangered species, as well.

This woman should be banned from national parks for the rest of her life. I would also like to see her actually have to clean up every speck of paint from every rock herself.

Her signature, “Creepytings,” certainly must apply to her. She’s 23 years old, and that is old enough to know better. She used acrylic paint, which is difficult to remove. She said of herself: “I know, I’m a bad person.” No kidding.

vandal02Social media comments about her “artwork” didn’t bring about the effect she expected. People were outraged, as they should have been, especially considering that she showed no remorse whatsoever. Then she responded by saying, “It’s art, not vandalism. I am an artist.” Comments about her now show continued outrage at the light sentence she’s been given.

A million street artists like her will ruin the planet. When you paint on any surface, whether it’s in a national park, in the forest or in your city, it is not art. It is graffiti, and it is a crime. If you want to paint something, buy a canvas. Leave the rock formations in special places alone.

National parks preserve and protect our cultural, natural and historical heritage. These parks and the rangers who protect them do not deserve this careless desecration. If you see someone committing a crime like this, take a photo, and report it to a ranger in the park.

Stop vandalism of all kinds in our parks.


Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.

vandal06vandal05 vandal04

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  1. Chris Hulse Chris Hulse says:

    Park services have removed all traces of any of the artwork that person put on the rocks that person has also been banned from any national Park for life

  2. She should be behind bars for a while to send a message

  3. And yet if it remained, 2000 years from now it too would be protected.

    • We have many more ways to preserve our heritage.
      Hieroglyphics were their only way of communication. So it wasn’t graffiti.

    • Heiroglphyics were A form of communication. Undoubtedly there were numerous forms of communication. Graffiti, heiroglyphs and cave paintings can possibly be the same from a relative standpoint in history. So what again, makes it justified? I’m guessing only if you’re paid by someone to do it..

  4. Tessa Lucero says:

    Mr. Humanic, she painted on a number of rocks in national parks. These parks are the property of every citizen of the United States, and are being preserved for the enjoyment of all visitors to these parks. They’re not for someone to deface at will.

    If this person decided to use your home or car as the site for her “artwork”, how would you react to that?

  5. I know what you mean. I saw this on a rock and I was beside myself.

  6. John Gilbert John Gilbert says:

    she should made to scratch all of her “artwork” off with her finger nails. That goes for our local graffitti “artists”, too.

  7. Taylor James Taylor James says:

    When You 2 Hurt Cause They Art Better Than You.

    Need More Art Like This Everywhere
    !!!! !!!!

  8. Why in the world didn’t she color it in? Really who does that?

  9. Livid? It’s art, not stupid kids writing gang signs. I bet you would be mad at a cavemen writing on walls too. And if you are so mad why don’t you don’t something about it and sand blast it! Start in your own neighborhood. Everyone has been to bouquet falls and seen how disgusting it is, but yet there is some amazing art there no one touches.

  10. Mama always said if it don’t belong to u leave it alone

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