Park rangers cracking down on vandalism in Smokies

Park rangers cracking down on vandalism in Smokies

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Park rangers say for years, people have been carving their names into historical landmarks, and while it may seem harmless, it is a crime. Park rangers say for years, people have been carving their names into historical landmarks, and while it may seem harmless, it is a crime.
Names, dates, and drawings are carved into or written on the walls of cabins throughout the park, and park officials say it is nearly impossible to fix. Names, dates, and drawings are carved into or written on the walls of cabins throughout the park, and park officials say it is nearly impossible to fix.
"These buildings have been here for hundreds of years. The trees that they are built by, some of these trees don't even grow in the national park anymore. They're irreplaceable," said GSMNP spokesperson Caitlin Worth. "These buildings have been here for hundreds of years. The trees that they are built by, some of these trees don't even grow in the national park anymore. They're irreplaceable," said GSMNP spokesperson Caitlin Worth.
By WHITNEY GOOD
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Officials in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are cracking down on vandalism.

Park rangers say for years, people have been carving their names into historical landmarks, and while it may seem harmless, it is a crime.

"A sad reflection of lack of pride," said park visitor Steve McSmith.

"I think they're destroying something that has been here for years," said park visitor Brandie Hawkins.

Cabins have stood in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for more than a century, and throughout the years people have left their mark.

"These buildings have been here for hundreds of years. The trees that they are built by, some of these trees don't even grow in the national park anymore. They're irreplaceable," said GSMNP spokesperson Caitlin Worth.

Names, dates, and drawings are carved into or written on the walls of cabins throughout the park, and park officials say it is nearly impossible to fix.

"We can't just sand down these historic buildings. They'd just wither away," said Worth.

Park rangers say they are trying several different things to try to deter people from carving into the walls of the cabins, including putting out books at some locations encouraging them to sign those instead.

Some groups of volunteers are also assigned to locations to help keep an eye on them and keep them clean.

"It's frustrating yes because you want to be able to bring your kids back here to see it and then you got to look at all this," said Hawkins.

Rangers are also cracking down on violators by using social media to catch up with people who may have snapped a picture of their mark, and asking other park visitors to keep an eye out and share descriptions of people caught in the act.

"Maybe a few people will see it who otherwise might not think about it and it'll make a difference, hopefully," said McSmith.

If you are caught carving into any of the buildings in the national park, you could get a ticket and a fine for $100.

If the case goes to court you could spend up to six months in jail and pay up to $5,000.
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