Vandalism is on the rise at national parks across the country, including parks in our area. In Big Bend National Park, there are petroglyphs etched into a rock that date back 4,000 to 8,500 years ago. People would travel to the park and admire the artwork but now there are new marks that have been carved on top of it.

There are four names and a date of December 26th, 2021 scratched across the ancient petroglyphs. The white markings were seen by park officials and efforts were made to restore the ancient markings back to their original condition but sadly, the new carvings are mostly permanent.

Park officials are now asking for help identifying the four vandals from the names on the rock- Isaac, Ariel, Norma, and Adrian. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Big Bend National Park Communication Center at 432-477-1187.

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According to the National Park Service website, there has been an increase in vandalism and graffiti at national parks nationwide, and it’s becoming a major problem. National park archeologists have documented over 50 instances of vandalism at these sites since 2015. The process to remove graffiti and other types of vandalism are tedious and can take a painstakingly long time. A rock art restoration specialist told Outside that restoring these historic markings can be difficult and should only be done by an experienced professional.

The penalty for defacing areas in national parks can include a fine of up to $5,000 or up to six months in prison, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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