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Provo Canyon trail vandalized with obscene pictures and words

Posted at 7:07 AM, Jun 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-15 09:07:47-04

PROVO, Utah — The Utah County Sheriff's Office wants to know who vandalized a popular hiking area in Provo Canyon, littering it with spray painted words and pictures considered obscene.

It's just off of the Provo River Parkway and up the Upper Falls trail, which is northeast of Bridal Veil Falls.

Hikers Vivian Yeap and Amy Cen immediately noticed the graffiti when they began their trek to the falls Friday evening.

They both traveled from New York City to experience the beauty of Utah, but what they found belonged more in Subway tunnels than on a trail.

"At first, I thought it was just trail markings," Yeap said. Then she took a closer look and realized some of the graffiti depicted male body parts. The graffiti also included curse words and derogatory terms.

The two pointed out the markings as they hiked.

There wasn't a spot on the trail where they couldn't see at least one rock, tree, branch or bush with bright pink and purple spray paint on it.

"This is a nature preserve area, and to see people vandalize it is a little sad for me," Yeap said.

Sad, and criminal.

But the Utah County Sheriff's Office didn't even know the graffiti existed because they said no one called it in. Someone posted pictures of the graffiti on social media, but Sgt. Spencer Cannon said no report was filed.

"A lot of people look at this kind of stuff here and say, 'It's harmless,'" Cannon said. "It's not harmless."

He encouraged anyone who comes across graffiti while hiking to call and report it, so it can be investigated and cleaned up.

Sgt. Cannon took pictures of the graffiti and documented it on Friday. The sheriff's office will open a case, and try to catch the vandals.

"I'm going to take some of the pictures that I got, and turn them over to our gang specialists," Cannon said. The gang specialists might be able to identify the tagging, he indicated.

To clean the graffiti up, Cannon said a team will come out and paint over the rocks. For the branches, bushes and trees, there's not much they can do. He said some of the bushes and branches might need to be cut down.

Even with the hike marred by male genitalia and questionable words, Amy and Vivian were still impressed when they reached the top of Upper Falls.

They looked up at the waterfall, and out at the view of Provo Canyon.

"It's quite pretty," Vivian said. "It was worth the hike."