Thanks to some idiot who spray-painted urban graffiti on a couple of rocks at Hanging Lake, Big Brother government wants to close the park until Memorial Day and outlaw social media and pictures of wrongdoing in the area.
The word “Blest” and some arrows now dot a few rocks and trees, but instead of just buying a jar of Wipe Out Porous Graffiti Remover, forest rangers are in a meltdown.
The claim it will cost $3,000 to remove the paint, and that we, the public, can’t be trusted up there until the summer rangers are in place after Memorial Day to police our behavior.
We certainly don’t approve of the vandalism, we just think closing the area to the entire public in a hissy fit, like taking your ball and going home because someone won’t play nice, is complete over-reaction.
Rangers say there are too many people and illegal dogs
enjoying themselves and parking outside the lines, and then there is that pesky First Amendment they want to do away with.
“Photos and video of people breaking the rules are popping up on social media almost daily,” District Ranger Aaron Mayville added. “The regularity of photos and videos demonstrates how many people blatantly disregard the rules for the sake of social media, and they are jeopardizing the experience for everyone else.”
Maryville encouraged people to take “appropriate, rule-abiding photos that demonstrate mindfulness at Hanging Lake” and to share those. However, taking photos of illegal activity at Hanging Lake and posting it on social media could result in tickets and fines.
Outlawing photography and social media in the wilderness is beyond extreme, even by federal government standards.
The Forest Service doesn’t have the staff and resources to track down every vacation photo posted on Twitter and Facebook, or the authority to issue fines for doing so.
At least, not yet. We’ll be watching this one closely.