2 sought for damaging popular Lake Mead rock formations

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las vegas — Federal authorities are asking for the public's help in locating two men seen damaging rock formations at a national recreation site in Nevada.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area officials said on social media that the damage happened over a recent weekend near the Redstone Dunes Trail on the north side of the lake. The petrified red dunes found there make it one of the most popular hiking spots in the park.

A video that CBS Las Vegas affiliate KLAS-TV says has gone viral, and that Lake Mead said was recorded on the evening of April 7, shows two men removing pieces of sandstone from the shore of an outcrop as a girl screams. Park officials called the behavior horrific, saying the damage is beyond repair.

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An image from a video that the National Park Service says was recorded on the night of April 7 shows two men vandalizing popular rock formations.

National Park Service / Facebook


“It's one of my favorite places in the park and they're up there just destroying it. I don't understand it,” John Haynes, public information officer at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, told TV station KVVU.

Such destruction at federally protected sites can result in felony charges that come with possible fines and jail time, Haynes said.

With 2,344 square miles of desert mountains and canyons, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, just outside Las Vegas, attracts about 6 million visitors each year. Staffing levels mean park officials often rely on the public to also monitor resources within park boundaries, officials said.

Authorities said visitors can use their cellphones to capture any video or photos of suspicious activity if it's safe and to collect any information, such as a license plate, that could help identify criminals. The National Park Service operates a tip line that receives thousands of submissions each year. That number is 888-653-0009 and there is an online version.

“It's very important to let us know,” Haynes said.

There have also been other instances of vandalism on federal lands in the West over the past decade, with visitors defacing petroglyphs, toppling rock features and hammering climbing bolts into centuries-old rock art.



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