• Outdoors Outdoors

Individual who destroyed historic landmark in Death Valley steps forward to take responsibility — here's what they had to say

There's no doubt that whomever was responsible could have avoided the situation by taking proper precautions and adhering to the park's regulations.

There's no doubt that whomever was responsible could have avoided the situation by taking proper precautions and adhering to the park’s regulations.

Photo Credit: Death Valley National Park

A visitor to Death Valley National Park vandalized a 113-year-old historic salt tram tower earlier this year. Now, after a public outcry, the culprit has come forward to accept responsibility for their actions, per the Pahrump Valley Times.

While the person remains anonymous, the National Park Service disclosed that they called the tip line to confess, stating, "This was done during a time of desperation while being deeply stuck in mud, and that it wasn't their intent to cause harm to the historic structure."

There's no doubt that whomever was responsible could have avoided the situation by taking proper precautions and adhering to the park's regulations.
Photo Credit: Death Valley National Park

The tower is part of an aerial tram system built in 1911. Listed with the National Register of Historic Places, it is "considered nationally significant because of its age, length, steepness, preservation, and scenic setting," as the Valley Times reported.

"We are grateful to the dozens of people who reached out to the park with information and for all the statements of support that we received from people who care about this place," Death Valley National Park acting superintendent Elizabeth Ibañez said in a news release. "Although we would certainly prefer that this damage hadn't happened, we are glad that the person who did this ultimately took responsibility for their actions and came forward."

While the destruction of the tower may have been accidental, there's no doubt that whomever was responsible could have avoided the situation by taking proper precautions and adhering to the park's regulations.

"While traveling in remote wilderness areas where cell phone coverage is not available, carrying a satellite-based communication device is an important safety tool," the NPS stated. "As Death Valley's famous summer temperatures continue to rise, park rangers encourage people to stay on paved roads during this time of year, as help is more readily available."

Similar cases have occurred across the country and around the world. Unfortunately, many of them are undeniably intentional

From a diver who carved his name into coral to the infamous teenage vandals who chopped down a beloved historic tree in England, a woman seen taunting bears in Yellowstone, people spray-painting trees in Indiana, an Australian property owner illegally clearing protected lands, and more, there's no shortage of examples of humans disrespecting nature.

And while the NPS has not confirmed whether there will be legal consequences for the salt tram vandalism, other parks are beginning to crack down on this behavior. The consequences range from fines to temporary or permanent bans and, in one recent case, even potential prison time

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By respecting our natural world and following park rules, we can ensure positive experiences for park visitors, rangers, and wildlife alike.

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