Graffiti vandals tag cactuses in Saguaro National Park


by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by KOLD

Posted on May 13, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 15 at 3:35 PM

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Vandals left their mark in Saguaro National Park over the weekend and officials are asking for information to find those responsible.

Significant graffiti was discovered along the Douglas Springs Trail in the park's Rincon District east of Tucson. At least eight saguaro cactuses were among 16 objects spray painted in the first 1.5 miles of the hiking trail, according to Saguaro National Park Superintendent Darla Sidles.

There are additional reports of spray-painted graffiti all the way up to Bridal Wreath Falls, an additional two miles up the trail.

Many of the cactuses that were tagged are 100 to 150 years old.

"They were seedlings during our nation's civil war and have stood this long inside what is now a National Park designated Wilderness area, designed to protect them," Sidles said in a news release.

Sidles said trail signs will be repainted and rocks will be cleaned. Staff members are researching methods to clean the cactuses that will not cause further damage.

An investigation is looking into possible suspects.

Saguaro National Park is asking users of the popular trail to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to park rangers.

"Our national parks belong to all of us," Sidles said.

Anyone with additional information about the vandalism can call the Saguaro National Park Information Hotline at 520-733-5150.