Large graffiti vandalism discovered at Cave Rock

Claire McArthur
Tahoe Daily Tribune
Cave Rock State Park was recently hit with graffiti.

Cave Rock, an iconic geologic formation on Lake Tahoe’s East Shore and sacred site to the native Washoe Tribe, was recently vandalized with graffiti.

On Friday, May 15, a hiker came across a large graffiti, estimated to be 8-by-12-feet, that appears to read “kush nuck” in red and yellow spray paint. After posting the picture on Facebook, the picture quickly garnered hundreds of comments from disappointed and upset users.

But for Tahoe resident Chris Kennedy, seeing the vandalism online was a call to action. Kennedy headed out to find the graffiti at Cave Rock, located along the backside of the rock near the top, and spent three hours scrubbing with Krud Kutter Graffiti Remover and a wire brush.

“It took some off, but it’s still very evident,” said Kennedy. “I want people to come and see the beauty of nature, to have the connection and appreciation for it. I understand it was probably a few youngsters, and they may not have the appreciation for nature as of yet. I hope they will learn to love nature instead of just walking through it.”

It’s not the first time that Cave Rock has been the victim of graffiti, nor is this type of vandalism uncommon around the Tahoe Basin.

Similar to Cave Rock, which offers expansive views of Lake Tahoe with just a short trek to the top, so-called “Party Rock” across the state line in South Lake Tahoe has experienced similar issues with graffiti and litter from alcoholic beverages.

Around the lake, volunteers organized through a Facebook group called Tahoe Vandalism Removal Squad have been working to keep Tahoe’s boulders cleared of graffiti for several years. The public group has nearly 400 members.

The portion of Cave Rock where the graffiti lies is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, and a more thorough cleaning is expected soon.

“As public lands, the National Forest belongs to each and everyone one of us,” said Lisa Herron, public affairs specialist for LTBMU, in an email. “Citizen stewardship of our public lands by every visitor is one of our greatest untapped resources. By working together on education, monitoring, and enforcement, the Forest Service and the public can help prevent this type of senseless destruction and embrace our shared ownership of these lands so they can be maintained and conserved for future generations.”

Herron added that graffiti on “national forest lands is considered destruction of government property under the Code of Federal Regulations and has a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine or six months in jail, with possible additional civil penalties that can be used toward cleanup costs.

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