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ST. GEORGE — Officials at Zion National Park are grappling with unprecedented amounts of graffiti throughout the park as visitors continue to flock to the canyon.
These days, besides their normal job description of welcoming visitors, park rangers face the additional challenges of managing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response as well as the presence of a toxic cyanobacteria bloom in the North Fork of the Virgin River, which runs through the park.
The graffiti, which has been found along the popular Narrows hike, the Kayenta Trail and on the West Rim/Angel’s Landing Trail near Scout Lookout is something that Zion’s chief ranger Daniel Fagergren said the park has never seen at this level until this year.
“I have seen more graffiti than I have ever seen before. It’s all over, and we’re trying to get ahead of it,” he said.
Fagergren said that rangers are dealing with a twofold problem as they try to manage the graffiti.
First, the park is seeing a new type of visitor, one who may have never visited a national park before and may only be venturing out as a result of being cooped up due to the pandemic.