How do you feel about graffiti on public lands?
The argument comes up from time to time when people find out others have “tagged” spray paint or carved on natural features in the Shawnee National Forest.
Sometimes, people blame me without saying my name. It’s obvious they mean me.
But in retrospect, I am against graffiti, preach against it, plead with people to report it, and I feel my audience isn’t the type who does this because vandals are not a friend of Hiking with Shawn.
But that isn’t the purpose of today’s blog post.
The Purpose is Graffiti on Public Lands
About 12,000+ years ago, Native Americans carved and painted on the surfaces of bluffs and rocks.
We have several of these sites in the Shawnee National Forest, including Piney Creek Ravine, Fountain Bluff, and Millstone Bluff, with several more sites in between.
The Natives were said to create rock art to communicate, create maps, or tell a story. It is the first storybook in North America.
Some “artists” and their supporters claim that modern-day graffiti is nothing more than the rock art that Natives presented.
But I question this.
How does “Kyle love Trish” relate to the hands of Native Americans carved into a rock? In what world does profanity get ranked with Native American rock art? In what galaxy makes it okay for graffiti doers to paint over 12,000+-year-old carvings?
I have yet to see why modern-day graffiti on public lands has any benefit.
Even carvings from the 1800s and early 1900s were mainly done on rocks that were a part of their private property. The Shawnee wasn’t a public land until the 30s and 40s. It was farmland and ghost towns before then.
Now we are in conversation mode and should preserve nature for generations to come.
Please reply and tell me what your thoughts on this are. I’m inquisitive. I’m also curious about why someone would support something like this.
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Thanks again for checking out another one of my articles and until next time, I’ll see you on the trail!
Founder, Hiking with Shawn
Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman
There is something repulsive and disheartening about modern graffiti on ancient wilderness areas. People are not going hungry because they don’t know Suzy loves John, but they would have, had they not known where the buffalo were. We just can’t leave our hands off things but we are about to find out. I live and grew up very near Starved Rock state park, it has been my backyard forever but I rarely go there anymore because I could cry over the disrespect.
I agree with you!
To be clear I believe people have the right to enjoy public lands, always. We could solve some problems with education and funding, there are still soooooo many people who care about the earth.
Also agree with this 🙂 thanks for commenting!