With less than four weeks to go until the start of spring, many Idahoans will be heading to their favorite outdoor destinations soon for camping or other types of recreation. Vandalism, and the defacing of public and private landmarks, continue to plague the Magic Valley every year.

Nothing irks me more than to see the aftermath of an idiot with a spray paint can, and it's particularly infuriating when this type of damage is inflicted upon our beautiful landscapes. The Snake River Canyon, City of Rocks National Reserve, and the area surrounding Dierkes Lake have all been victimized by morons with too much time on their hands and parents that aren't paying close enough attention.

Current Idaho Laws for these types of offenses are way too lenient. In most cases, offenders get a slap on the wrist misdemeanor or are required to pay a small fine. If someone were to draw all over a famous piece of art at some fancy gallery, the punishment for these actions includes getting hit with a felony, fines up to $50,000, and mandatory jail sentences.

Why is the punishment different for destroying or defacing our natural landmarks? Personally, I get more satisfaction from admiring a landmark such as The Perrine Bridge than I do a painting from Picasso.

In 2018, a popular rock formation near Dierkes Lake had to be rebuilt after someone destroyed it. In the summer of 2020, the Twin Falls Sheriff's Office posted photos of rocks in the Snake River Canyon that had been tagged by some loser. Later in 2020, the City of Rocks Natural Reserve had old rock carvings from nineteenth-century settlers scribbled over.

Let's do our part this year to watch out for these dense individuals who will no dought be back at it again.

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