Christine Ryan

At Arches National Park, ranger Stephen Allen removes graffiti.
(NPS Photo by Andrew Kuhn)

Whether it’s thanks to Banksy or Basquiat or San Francisco’s Balmy Street murals, graffiti has become transgressively cool, and it can be a vibrant expression of urban energy and our multicultural heritage. But when it’s in our national parks? Not such a great idea, perhaps.

According to an article we read in the L.A. Times, one graffiti artist, Andre Saraiva, who’d tagged a boulder in Joshua Tree to much outcry, claimed (mistakenly) on Instagram that the work had been "made with love at friends privet back yard and not your national park! [sic]." True, Mr. Saraiva hails from France, but don’t the world’s parks belong to us all? Maybe that’s the uncomfortable subtext here—maybe taggers don't feel like the parks are theirs too...

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