To paraphrase Leslie Knope, we need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work, and preserving our national parks. The rest of America is a toxic cesspool, but it’s comforting knowing that we’re only a quick drive away from protected scenery, majestic animals, and… hideous “art”?
Casey Nocket pleaded guilty last week to seven misdemeanor counts of defacing rock formations with graffiti at Death Valley, Zion, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Colorado, Canyonlands, and Crater Lake National Parks. As punishment, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto sentenced Nocket to 200 hours of community work and two years of probation, during which she’s banned from entering any national park or federal land. Tough, but fair.
Nocket, who goes by Creepytings on social media, has remained quiet since the ruling, but her outdoor eyesores speak volumes. After posting on Instagram that she uses acrylic paint, which is difficult to remove, Nocket added, “I know, I’m a bad person.”
U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert agrees. “The defendant’s defacement of multiple rock formations showed a lack of respect for the law and our shared national treasures,” he said. “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.” The final two, Death Valley and Crater Lake, will be completed, weather-permitting.
Nocket was caught thanks to some, for once, good investigative work by Reddit users, who reported her to the National Parks Service:
Nocket… first came to the attention of Reddit’s climbing and hiking community when a backpacker posted a picture of one of her works that they had found on a trail in Yosemite. Users quickly began talking about the “National Park Vandal.”
When the story was picked up by Casey Schreiner, [who] posted them on his site Modern Hiker, “that’s when it really took off,” [he] said. “My site got slammed – and that’s when people started to see if they could dig in on their own and see if there were any other instances of graffiti that was posted.” (Via the Guardian)
National Parks Service investigator Steve Yu saw the post, and got in contact with Schreiner. But things were beginning to spiral out of control. Nocket had her home address published online and a family member said they feared for her safety. Yu eventually reached out to the Reddit community to plead, “Please remember, EVERYONE in our society has the right to Due Process.”
Schreiner, for his part, understands that people are pissed at Nocket, but doxxing her isn’t the solution. “I wish that people could focus the energy of leaving tirades in internet comments into volunteering in a national park, or donating to a national park,” he said. Here’s how to get involved.
Don’t be a Casey Nocket; do some good in the world.