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Vandals deface southern Utah red rock with graffiti


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GRAND COUNTY -- Most visitors who pass through the scenic Colorado River way near Moab try not to leave any trace of their trip behind. However, some vandals recently made sure their presence was known again, and again and again.

"Between basically mile marker 1 on [Highway] 128 and Dewey Bridge, there are probably 15 to 20 spots of graffiti," explains Jason Moore, a law enforcement ranger with the Bureau of Land Management.

Moore says last weekend vandals scarred the famous red rock by spray painting symbols and words probably only they know the meaning of.

"Numerous symbols, the words: ‘komy kyenta 2010,'" Moore says.

Their "artwork" is more than a small footprint. It stretches over 30 miles of the river way. Some is visible from the road; other spots you have to hike to.

Rangers hope they've discovered all of it, because cleaning up the vandals' "handiwork" is no easy task. Even if rangers can remove the paint, it may scar the rock.

"It's pricey to take off. It costs a lot of money to take off, a lot of time," Moore says. "But we will take it off because it's such a pristine recreation area used by tens of thousands of people."

That's tens of thousands of people who usually respect and preserve Utah's southeastern desert, not purposefully leave their mark for everyone else to see.

"We have collected some evidence on scene that we're processing currently," Moore says. "We're kind of at a standstill right now."

The BLM is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. If you have information, call 801-539-4001.

E-mail: jstagg@ksl.com

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Jennifer Stagg

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