BANDY CREEK — “Disheartening.”
That’s the word that Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area Supt. Niki S. Nicholas uses to describe vandalism within the national park, which has increased substantially in recent months.
“The Big South Fork has sustained a great deal of vandalism over the last several months,” Nicholas said. “There has been damaging of signage and a tremendous amount of littering. There’s also been some resource damage.”
Nicholas said the National Park Service is looking into the vandalism and the perpetrators that might be behind it.
“We of course are looking into it in all the different capacities that we have,” she said. “Given all the different pressures the park is under and the fact that we really have an opportunity with new visitation this summer to show the world what a great part of the world we live in, we really need everyone’s help.”
Nicholas said that visitors to the park should practice the Leave No Trace principal — “if you bring it in, pack it out.” And, she added, “If you see anything, any activity you think is inappropriate, let us know.”
There have also been some recent car burglaries in the BSF. Most other state and national parks around the region have experienced car break-ins as well. Nicholas described the BSF’s car burglaries as occurring in a “short burst,” and said that all of the various parks are working together and sharing information about the incidents.
“Every so often this type of thing happens,” she said. “It tends to be a group of people.”
Nicholas advised visitors to the park to make sure valuables are out of sight in their vehicle.
“Don’t leave things out,” she said. “if it looks like an easy target, unfortunately, it will be. Put things out of sight and lock your doors.”