Mariposa Gazette

Vandalism at Yosemite likely gang relatedFree Access


This photo show the damage done on the Yosemite Falls trail by what officials believe are members of gangs. Submitted photos

This photo show the damage done on the Yosemite Falls trail by what officials believe are members of gangs. Submitted photos

It appears a massive amount of vandalism on one of Yosemite National Park’s most famous trails could be gang related.

“We do have leads and we’re working with several law enforcement agencies in surrounding area,” said Scott Gediman, public information officer for the park.

Park and law enforcement officials are seeking help from the public in the May 20 incident in which park rangers received multiple reports of vandalism on the Yosemite Falls trail. They learned about the vandalism at around 8:15 p.m.

The next day, park rangers went up the trail to assess the damage — and it was extensive. They found graffiti in about 30 different locations along the trail, much of it done to the granite rocks along the famed hike which eventually goes to the top of Upper Yosemite Fall.

White and blue spray paint was used by the vandals, according to the park service. The smallest area of damage was about a square foot, officials said, while most were nine square feet. A few of the larger areas were around 64 square feet.

Shown is more of the damage which was found along one of the most famous trails in Yosemite National Park.

Shown is more of the damage which was found along one of the most famous trails in Yosemite National Park.

“It looks like it is gang related,” said Gediman, who added that has prompted rangers to work with law enforcement officials throughout the region, many of whom have gang task forces.

He also said officials are asking for the help of the public.

“It’s a very popular trail, so there is a good chance people may have saw them on the trail,” said Gedi- man.

Anyone who was on the trail to the top of Yosemite Falls between 6-11 p.m. on May 20 who saw individuals carrying cans of spray paint, engaging in tagging or have video or photo evidence is asked to contact the park service at go.nps.gov/submitatip, email nps_isb@nps. gov or call (999) 653-0009.

Gediman said because of the popularity of the trail, it is likely somebody may have witnessed or event photographed people connected to the vandalism.

Cleaning it up

Park officials are now in the process of cleaning up the graffiti, but that process is going to be lengthy, said Gediman.

“Cleaning it up is complicated,” he said.

Officials attempt to avoid using anything abrasive because chemicals can damage not only the granite, but living things like tree roots and insects who inhabit the area.

Gediman said they have started the removal process “but it is going to take several weeks.”

Gediman said this incident is similar to something that happened around a decade ago when gang members spray painted parts of the Housekeeping Cabins area as well as Curry Village.

“We did catch them,” said Gediman, hoping for the same result this time around. “It was gang related from Southern California.”

For Gediman, who has been at the park for most of his career, this type of vandalism is simply “unacceptable.”

He called such acts of the preserved Yosemite National Park “illegal in unconscionable.”

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