A female hiker has been banned from all US National Parks for defacing protected rocks with graffiti and her social media handle then posting her "art" online. Casey Nocket, known as Creepytings on social media sites Instagram and Tumblr, had scrawled faces and animals in six national parks in Oregon, California, Utah and Colorado.
Authorities say that during a 26-day period in 2014 Nocket, from San Diego, used acrylic paint on rocks specifically chosen because of their impressive panoramic views. To mark her work, she made sure she included her Instagram handle where photographs of her drawing on the rocks were posted.
Removing the drawings has been a painstaking task with some of the rocks because sandblasting and chemical stripping procedures that remove paint can cause irreparable damage to the precious rocks and other natural features. Even two years later vandalism at Crater Lake and Death Valley is yet to be fully removed.
The 23-year-old was subsequently charged with seven counts of injury or depredation against government property and pleaded guilty to all of them when she appeared at a federal court in Fresno, California, on 21 June.
Nocket has also been banned from going to US National Parks, which covers around 20 per cent of America, during her two years of probation. She was also told to complete 200 hours of community work and will be required to pay a fine – to be decide at an upcoming hearing.
"The defendant's defacement of multiple rock formations showed a lack of respect for the law and our shared national treasures," said acting US Atty, Phillip A. Talbert, according to the Daily Telegraph. "The National Park Service has worked hard to restore the rock formations to their natural state, completing clean-up efforts in five of the seven national parks.
"They expect to complete clean-up efforts at Death Valley and at Crater Lake national parks as weather permits."
After she was caught, she defended her graffiti, writing: "It's art, not vandalism. I am an artist".
After a considerable public outcry which included the submission of a White House petition demanding her prosecution with 10,000 signatures on it, her accounts on Instagram and Tumblr were deleted.