The Black Hills: filled with nature, relaxing get-a-ways, and according to the Public Affairs Officer for the Black Hills National Forest Scott Jacobson vandalism.
“With the increased use of the forest this year, we’ve seen an increase in vandalism, destruction of property, and graffiti,” says Jacobson.
Graffiti covers the old Spokane Mining Town making it look more abandoned than historical.
“What we’re seeing here the graffiti and destruction, holes in the wall, theft of a lot of this wood. That is stealing and destroying everyone’s heritage,” says Archeologist for the Black Hills National Forest Luke Hittner. “The Black Hills National Forest (Service) is here to conserve and protect these assets.”
The mining town isn’t the only place being vandalized, the forestry service has been sent out to clean up areas like Spearfish Canyon, Black Elk Peak, and most recently Cascade Falls where people are carving into the stone.
The clean up costs money, money not allocated in the budget. So the money to restore these areas is coming from funds set aside for other upkeep in the Black Hills.
“When we have to take our time to go out and repair damage that’s been done intentionally, it really takes away from our mission to provide a better place for future generations, so it does, it’s disheartening,” says Jacobson.
If caught vandalizing, the charges range from misdemeanors to felonies and punishments range from fines to jail time.
If you see someone vandalizing in the Black Hills officials say to call 9-1-1, but if if you come across the destruction they say to report it to the forest service office.