Graffiti Mars Natural Beauty in Lost Valley - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Graffiti Mars Natural Beauty in Lost Valley

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(KATV, Source: National Park Service) A recent report of graffiti at Cobb Cave and Eden Falls cave at the end of Lost Valley Trail has focused attention of park resource managers. It is located in the upper Buffalo National River area.

Although a low-level issue in the past, there has been a dramatic increase in the volume in the last few months of 2012. Using charcoal to draw or rocks to peck or incise rock surfaces with names, dates, etc., these ancient monuments have joined the ranks of bridges and boxcars as the billboards for graffiti.  This is not the only place where graffiti has occurred.  We typically find it in area frequented by youth, and sometimes associated with specific youth groups who use the park. 

While some may argue that this is just "human nature" it is also against the law (e.g., Archeological Resources Protection Act, Cave Protection Act). In addition to being unsightly, this activity ranges from misdemeanor to felony in scope if prosecuted. When something of this nature occurs, the park's responsibilities include some level of investigation, notification of concerned parties such as Native American tribes, development of a restoration and repair plan and, eventually the actual clean-up of the site. The process sounds involved, and it is. 

The National Park Service, like all government agencies, has laws, policies, and guidelines in place to help direct the planning of actions to insure the best possible outcome.  This usually takes some time, but it helps insure that the cure is not worse than the original problem!

The task of cleaning up the mess in Lost Valley has been taken up by volunteers and park staff. Members of the Ozark Society, Buffalo National River Partners, the Arkansas Master Naturalists, and students from Jasper High School will form a team to address the problem later in December or January. It is hoped that we are not at the front end of a trend and need the visiting public to help spread the word that such behavior is unacceptable.