The National Parks are meant to highlight and preserve the most breathtaking natural settings the United States has to offer—not serve as a visitor's personal canvas. That was made clear this week after Casey Nocket received her sentence for defacing several National Park properties. After pleading guilty to seven misdemeanor charges, the 23-year-old has been sentenced to 200 community service hours and two years of probation. A later hearing will determine the amount of restitution she has to pay.
In the fall of 2014, Nocket toured seven National Park sites and left her mark on each one with markers and acrylic paint. Her graffiti scarred rock formations in some of the system's most iconic places, including Yosemite, Zion, Canyonlands, and Rocky Mountain National Park. Not content to simply have her drawings seen in real life, Nocket also shared her handiwork on social media, which proved to be a bad idea—those posts are what spurred the investigation.
There is at least one silver lining to the situation: Charles Cuvelier, chief of Law Enforcement, Security, and Emergency Services for the NPS, said in a press release, "This case illustrates the important role that the public can play in identifying and sharing evidence of illegal behavior in parks." That goes for other types of vandalism as well, like disturbing plants, animals, and rock formations. If you see someone doing something potentially harmful to or within a National Park, whether on social media or in person, officials encourage visitors to speak up before the culprit has the chance to do more damage.
All images: Twitter.