We have previously discussed the increasing appearance of graffiti in our national and state parks. As is well known on his blog, hiking is my passion and there is nothing more crushing than to see juvenile carvings and writings on trees and rocks in parks. Indeed, today I am heading to New Mexico for a speech and hope to hike in the wonderful trails outside of the city. I have written that the scourge of graffiti is due to the low detection rate and even lower penalties for those committing these crimes. The most recent case demonstrates vividly how the government still treats the crime as a minor matter. Recently, Actress Vanessa Hudgens posted a picture of her carving of a heart into a red rock wall during a trip to Sedona, Arizona on federal park land. However, when nabbed by the federal government, they allowed her to walk with just $1000 donated to a charity. Now we have another egregious case of a San Diego woman, Casey Nocket, 23, who defaced a series of national parks with graffiti and bragged about on social media. Yet, Nocket was sentenced to only two years’ probation and 200 hours of community service. The laughable sentence vividly illustrates why the destruction of our parks continues without any meaningful deterrence.
Casey Nocket is a nightmare for environmentalists. A shallow, narcissistic individual who relished putting graffiti on pristine areas within seven national parts, including Yosemite in California and Zion in Utah. She used Instagram and Tumblr to brag about her dubious accomplishments.
Yet, here is a case of extensive and premeditated acts of vandalism — followed by bragging on social media. Yet, even in this case, Nocket will only face two years’ probation and 200 hours of community service. They are still trying to clean up the mess but Nocket will effectively walk.