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Hikers recorded vandals from afar as they spray painted rocks in Little Cottonwood Canyon on May26, 2020. (Photo: Andrew Adams, KSL TV)
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Hikers Uncover Graffiti In Little Cottonwood Canyon, Videotape Vandals

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Unified Police officers are investigating graffiti left around and on top of a large boulder near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon after two hikers spotted vandals from a distance Tuesday.

Dillon Pile and Brad Eades said they couldn’t believe it when they saw what was unfolding on the large rock beneath them.

“Hey, whosever kids these are out here spray-painting rocks in Little Cottonwood Canyon, you’ve got to do a better job of being a parent!” Pile could be heard exclaiming in a video he captured while trying to document what was happening.

Pile said it was “hard to see such a beautiful place be brought down.”

“I can only imagine how much more attention it would have drawn to it if it was done on one of these houses,” he said as he pointed to the valley below.

The boulder sits above the park-and-ride lot at the mouth of the canyon and requires a short but challenging hike plus some bouldering to reach it.

Pile and Eades also spotted spray paint bottles left inside a cave beneath the boulder surface and reported the discovery to officers, who arrived Wednesday for a closer look at the graffiti.

“Nobody wants to see your stuff up here in the mountains,” said Unified Police officer Dawn Larsen.

Larsen underscored it is a crime to leave graffiti in the wild, and police were working to figure out who was responsible.

“Hopefully we can get a conviction off of the information we have from the Good Samaritans who were able to record everything,” Larsen said.

Pile and Eades said this wasn’t the first time they had noticed graffiti in the canyon, and they wanted to draw attention to what has been something of a persistent problem.

“It’s just sad,” Pile reflected. “It hurts to see people don’t treat it with respect.”

Larsen acknowledged the area had become something of a target for vandals.

“Our main area where we have a problem with graffiti is here, which is the Temple Quarry Trail and Beer Can Cave,” Larsen said. “The Temple Quarry Trail is really easy access to the public and we have a lot of kids that will just park their car on the side of the road (and) walk across the river. At night they think no one is around, and then they just spray paint their little designs and are off.”

Larsen said the department has received some money from Salt Lake County for overtime graffiti shifts. An undercover officer has been roaming the trails almost every day looking for graffiti, illegal fires, drugs and dogs — which aren’t allowed in the canyon.

Pile and Eades said they hoped those responsible could be caught.

“You just respect it,” Eades said. “You’ve got to leave it better than you found it.”

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