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Instagram Vandal Banned From National Parks

Casey Nocket painted graffiti in seven parks in 2014.

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Casey Nocket, the graffiti artist who defaced seven national parks in 2014, won’t be returning to the scene of her crimes any time soon. On Monday, a federal court in Fresno, California banned her from most of America’s public lands for the next two years.

Nocket, 23, pled guilty to seven misdemeanor counts of damaging government property. Besides two years of probation, during which time she will be prohibited from entering lands administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Army Corps of Engineers, Nocket will have to complete 200 hours of community service.

Nocket began her 26-day rock-painting spree in September 2014 at Rocky Mountain National Park, and would go on to deface six other parks, including Death Valley, Colorado National Monument, Canyonlands, Zion, Yosemite, and Crater Lake. Nocket used permanent acrylic paint, posting her work to Tumblr and Instagram under the handle Creepytings.

Her vandalism came to light in late October, when blog Modern Hiker put up a post about Nocket with pictures of her paintings, taken from her Instagram account before she made it private. That same day, a Reddit user posted a picture of graffiti that the user had encountered on Yosemite’s Vernal Falls trail. Amateur sleuths connected the picture to Nocket’s social media accounts, and the NPS soon took up the investigation.

Jeffrey Olson, a public affairs officer with the National Parks Service, said it was no surprise that it was the public who cried foul.

“People love national parks and 99.999 percent of those who go to national parks enjoy them for what they are,” he said. “They don’t feel a need to leave some kind of enduring legacy of their visit.”

Olson said vandalism is common in parks, but it is usually minor incidents like visitors shooting holes in road signs or drawing their names in bathroom stalls. Crocket was unique because of the extent of her actions, and how quicly she defaced seven different national parks.

While NPS workers regularly have to clean graffiti off of rocks, Olson said that most of it is scratched in, not painted. According to Mashable, cleaning paint off the rock is a painstaking process, and usually involves carefully scraping it off with plastic spatulas, alternating with low-pressure hot water. Graffiti in delicate areas, especially near rock art, may never be removed.

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