Woman paints faces defacing 8 national parks including Zion, Canyonlands

Compilation image. Front: Casey Nocket, 21, of New York; background is Canyonlands National Park, Utah, unspecified dates | Facebook Photo of Nocket; Canyonlands photo courtesy of Modern Hiker; St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH — Following a digital trail of painting vandalism in national parks and one national monument posted by a New York woman on social media sites, the National Park Service is investigating the reported vandalism in at least eight national parks, located in five western states, and has identified 21-year-old Casey Nocket as a primary suspect in the criminal investigation.

Casey Nocket leaves her mark on a rock in Zion National Park, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of Modern Hiker, St. George News
Casey Nocket leaves her mark on a rock in Zion National Park, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of Modern Hiker, St. George News

Incidents were posted on social media after Nocket posted pictures of her “artwork” — consisting mostly of painted faces signed with “Creepytings 2014” — on Instagram and Facebook. The image found in Zion National Park is of a woman’s face with a cigarette dangling from her mouth and is the size of a large cereal box.

National Park Service investigators have confirmed that images were painted on rocks or boulders in Zion National Park and Canyonlands National Park in Utah; Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park and Joshua Tree National Park, all in California; Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument in Colorado; and Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.

Zion’s park rangers became aware of Nocket’s vandalism from the initial story that was released about Nocket’s widespread vandalism, said Aly Baltrus, spokeswoman for Zion National Park. Baltrus confirmed that Zion is one of the parks that has been tagged by Nocket. Zion receives 3 million visitors yearly, she said, and most people are respectful but graffiti is a growing problem.

Casey Nocket leaves an image of a woman's face at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of the Modern Hiker, St. George News
Casey Nocket leaves an image of a woman’s face at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of the Modern Hiker, St. George News

“There’s a difference between art and vandalism,” Baltrus said. “Grafitti is definitely a problem, especially with people scraping on rocks, but this is a more extreme example.”

In general, graffiti in national parks is a growing problem, said David Nimkin, senior regional director for the National Park Conservation Association, southwest region. He said this incident is reminiscent of when Boy Scout Leaders David Hall and Glenn Taylor posted a YouTube video of themselves toppling an ancient rock formation in Goblin Valley State Park in October 2013. Nimkin also likened Nocket to the international graffiti artist and political activist, Banksy, by promoting her illegal work using public forums.

“I have a hard time believing that she (Nocket) didn’t realize what she was doing was wrong. I think she clearly had a different agenda,” Nimkin said. “I feel the same with the boy scout leaders. They said they didn’t know but then they were laughing about it.”

Casey Nocket replies to a message on Facebook, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of the Modern Hiker, St. George News
Casey Nocket replies to a message on Facebook, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of the Modern Hiker, St. George News

Nocket admits to knowing that what she is doing is wrong in a Facebook message saying that she knows she is a bad person.

Investigators continue to collect evidence, conduct interviews and are consulting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office about potential charges. They ask the public to exercise patience and allow due process to take its course as the investigation moves forward, according to a statement written by National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey G. Olson.

Prior to the Park Service’s investigation, some of Nocket’s paintings were removed. The image found in Rocky Mountain National Park was reported to the park and then removed late September before similar images were found in the other national parks, according to the statement. Ice and snow have covered the image at Crater Lake National Park, and it may not be accessible for assessment and clean up until next summer. An image in Yosemite National Park was removed by an unknown person or persons.

If people visiting these parks come upon these images, they should contact the nearest park ranger with information about the image location. Visitors should not attempt to remove the images.

Casey Nocket leaves her mark at Death Valley's Telescope Peak, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of Modern Hiker, St. George News
Casey Nocket leaves her mark at Death Valley’s Telescope Peak, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of Modern Hiker, St. George News

The removal of the images involves a multi-step process that is formulated based on the type of paint and surface material. Paint strippers are then tested to find one that won’t damage the surface and manufacturer’s recommendations are followed which include the use of ample hot water. The primary tool for paint removal, however, is a common plastic kitchen spatula. The process of applying the stripper, hot water and spatula-scraping is repeated until the paint is removed or no additional paint can be removed.

Restoration specialists will determine the time requirements of the cleanup process and the cost will depend largely on staff, time and materials.

While authorities could not discuss details of this case, they did stress the seriousness of vandalism in the released statement:

“There are forums for artistic expression in national parks because national parks inspire artistic creativity. These images are outside that forum and outside the law.”

One of the reasons national parks have been designated is to preserve and protect the nation’s natural, cultural and historic heritage for both current and future generations. Vandalism is a violation of the law and it also damages and sometimes destroys irreplaceable treasures that belong to all Americans.

Vandalism, as described in the Code of Federal Regulations, refers to destroying, injuring, defacing, or damaging property or real property.

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55 Comments

  • ladybugavenger November 8, 2014 at 9:38 am

    That’s just crazy posting her vandalism art on social media.however, she allegedly always wanted to be a famous artist- RAP tax her!

  • Burton November 8, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Pathetic. Not surprised she is from New York.

  • freaks November 8, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Since she loves putting her faces on rocks, maybe an appropriate punishment would be to put rocks on her face. Big, sharp ones preferably.

  • Dana November 8, 2014 at 10:12 am

    She needs to be smacked upside the head, shamed by wearing a sign saying “I am a self absorbed idiot” and pay a fine of a few thousand dollars.

  • Koolaid November 8, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Nuthin’ in the noggin of not hot, narcissistic Nocket.

  • Mike November 8, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    As she stated on her Facebook, she is “a bad person.” She is also a bad artist and a self centered narcissist to think the rest of the world needs to see her crappy scrawlings. She could never gain fame with her lack of artistic talent so she needed to act like a two year old and color on our walls.

  • HUMMYNBYRD November 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Seriously woman??? Wth is wrong with some people…they think they can do whatever they want and not pay the consequences….throw the book at the woman, and make her pay big time!!

  • The Rest Of The Story November 8, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I’m all for freedom of expression, but she either neglects to understand, or chooses to ignore, the difference between private property and public property. I hope they give her a hefty sentence of community service–how about every weekend for the next year–preferably involving going and removing not only her own “expressions” but those of others as well.

  • UnpopularOpinion November 8, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Go big or go home

  • From Minnesota November 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I think she should be required to do the clean up. There is no worse punishment to an artist then to have to destroy their own work. I’m even more surprised that we are calling her an artist. Those drawings look like they were done by a grade school child.

  • Indy-vfr November 8, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I suggest her “art” should be done on a cell wall in Federal Prison.

  • Matthew Sevald November 8, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    This is the big issue I have with “ownership” of open, empty, unoccupied land. She painted on rocks…….didn’t Indians do this 10,000 years ago? Don’t believe they got permission. She didn’t destroy a cultural artifact. She didn’t destroy a geologic formation. She didn’t harm anything except a lot of feelings. There is nothing different about her painting faces than indians painting squiggly lines except for a matter of several thousand years. Her work is ugly, but it’s not criminal. Have her go scrub it off if something just absolutely has to be done about this, but there’s no need for punishment or fines. The “our public lands belong to all of us” means that she owns them to and gets to use them as she sees fit. This is what she chose and I support her freedom to do it.

    • Dana November 9, 2014 at 6:16 am

      You’re wrong. Her “art” is criminal. She chose to break the law, just like those two fat dough boys did in Goblin Valley. Trying to compare it to the rock writings of the first people is lame and shows what little cultural understanding you have …..despite your long rambling comments. Furthermore, citing Bryan Hyde doesn’t lend credibility to your argument. He isn’t an expert on anything except being Bryan Hyde.

      • Matthew Sevald November 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm

        Her actions did break a law, you’re right. But the law is stupid and shouldn’t exist in the first place. I do not ascribe to this portion of the “social contract”. She did not violate “natural law”: physically harming people or using fraud/theft in her dealings. I stand by allowing her to do this.

        • Mike November 9, 2014 at 4:50 pm

          Being part of a community means being considerate and not ruining it for the others. No, she didn’t kill anyone. (And I doubt using fraud or theft counts as “natural law”). Whatever the heck that is. Just because it has no value to you, does not mean those rocks have no value to the rest of this community.

          • Matthew Sevald November 9, 2014 at 10:49 pm

            Mike, you’re right that being part of a community means being considerate, etc. That’s the bane of living in close proximity to others – you are forced to surrender freedoms for protection because most people are cowards when it comes to allowing others to live their lives as they choose. Most people wish to force others to live how they want those people to live because it’s “easier that way if we all get along.”
            .
            Read Thomas Hobbes and John Locke to learn about “natural law” and the appropriate roles of government in the lives of free people.
            .
            We have surrendered so many of our natural rights (to do anything we want so long as we don’t harm/kill people or defraud them (take away their autonomy/ability to truly choose) in the name of safety and security via government that we are not free in the least. Our governments at most levels overreach their proper authority daily.
            .
            Punishing this woman for drawing on rocks (again, as the ancient Indians did) is an overreach of government. The LESS that government is involved in our lives, the better. Many people preach this, but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is, they tuck tail because it really means near-anarchy and having to take care of yourself by yourself or with friends/family/people who think the same as you.

    • H November 9, 2014 at 8:24 am

      If we make it okay for her to do this, what stops every single person in America from doing the same thing? Eventually, there wouldn’t be any piece of “public land” left ungraffitied or destroyed. The point is she broke the law. She KNEW she broke the law. She doesn’t “own” any part of public land – it’s here for us to share, not do what we see fit with it.

      • Matthew Sevald November 9, 2014 at 4:37 pm

        Nothing stops them, and that’s ok. That’s what people need to remember: you have no right to control others except for when their rights violate yours. Natural law means that people can’t physically harm others or use fraud or theft in their dealings. Her right to draw on some rocks in the wilderness in no way harms anyone, therefore she should be allowed to do it.

        • Koolaid November 9, 2014 at 6:53 pm

          Cut her arms off. I bet that would stop her.

        • The Rest Of The Story November 9, 2014 at 11:12 pm

          It’s selfishness–the entire foundation of “Libertarianism”

          • Matthew Sevald November 10, 2014 at 7:59 am

            You have a very immature view of what it means to be a free person. It is “self-serving” to take care of yourself and to lead your own life without interference, but it is not selfish. Selfishness implies a “wrongness”. Being a free person and living free of interference is a natural right given by God by the simple fact that we exist. People choose to surrender those rights to live in close proximity to others and get along, and that is their choice, but retaining those natural rights is not wrong in anyway; rather, it is the ultimate respect for yourself and for God’s gift of life.

        • Roy J November 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm

          Hobbes and Locke saying something doesn’t make it so, most especially about the natural law. Alot of rather more notworthy and serious philosphers, especially Thomas Aquinas, disagree with what the empirical schools have to say.

          • Roy J November 10, 2014 at 2:52 pm

            Noteworthy. Hahaha! hem.

        • Roy J November 10, 2014 at 3:12 pm

          It is no longer natural law if there is public ownership: in other words, a Mexican national would not be allowed to deface US public property even if it were acceptable for a US citizen to do so. That’s where the distinction between human law and natural law comes in.

    • JR November 9, 2014 at 9:49 am

      Public lands means we own the land as a collective, not as individuals. In other words, we decide as a group what to do with it and how to administer it, it doesn’t mean every individual can go to public land do whatever they want to it.

      • Matthew Sevald November 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm

        We own them collectively as individuals. We are all able to use them how we see fit, natural law does not require anyone else’s consent.

        • Roy J November 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

          Collective ownership does not imply private usage, in the sense of doing whatever a private individual wants to do with it. That is implied when you say collective.

    • Joanna November 9, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, so I was content to just let you have yours, until you quoted that goofball from Durrr-spectives and it just blew your whole argument apart.

  • Real Life November 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Just stupid. And Creepy Tings, if you are reading this, you need some art lessons.

    • R'laine November 9, 2014 at 1:20 am

      . . . . .and some spelling lessons wouldn’t go amiss, I’m assuming she means Creepy Things

  • Ben Dar Obber November 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    You all sound very aggressive toward this women. It is just a bunch of rocks that she has drawn on. It’s not like we hurt anyone or involved any one else. If she is given a sentance for what she has done, using some past judgements by some wonderful judges through out this great country of ours, let’s see. the state of New Hampshire had women rapped offender was given 6 months in jail. Maine had 3 child molestation offender given 90 days. Texas druck driver kills man 30 days in jail. Murders in Benghazi on lookers of the crime have not been charged. Have you seen this girls pics. Now if she was homely, over weight, no blonde, not in shape, didn’t have good hygiene, or just plain butt ugly then maybe a life sentence. But for what she looks like I would let her text while driving, ride her bike on the roads, miss half her credit card payments, graduate college being stupid, ride atv outside the designated riding area, where bikin at school, I’d even let her dance in st. George anywhere she wants. Lighten up people if you want to complain about people check out the arrest booking in southern utah. We need to get those folks out of her and bring more of miss New York to town. In fact I’d even let her hold my loaded gun.

    • Herd November 9, 2014 at 8:26 am

      And some guy in Cedar City embezzles almost a million dollars and gets off with the slightest tap on the wrist. Church connection keep him out. So all this blonde bimbo needs is a church recommend to keep her out of trouble. BTW, there is nothing attractive about self-centered women.

  • Koolaid. November 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I agree with you 100 percent Ben. Not sure what all the fuss is about. My last comment was in humor I was just trying to use the N word, not so funny now. You realy make sense Ben. One thing I’ve never under stood, you have someone draw on rocks now days it’s wrong everyone complains, if we find rocks that some folks painted 200 years ago it’s really neat and we have to preserve it. What about 200 years from now what will they think is neat. Maybe they’ll find out we let same type gender marry and they’ll say no wonder their society failed. What did the hoodlum say when asked if he new how to draw on sandstone? How. Thanks been for the in site.

    • JR November 9, 2014 at 9:42 am

      that rock art you speak of is thousands, not hundreds, of years old. We also don’t know why they’re there or what they mean. All that adds up to a mystery that makes it interesting. Some chick painting a rock now is neither steroids nor thousands of years old. It saddens me that people can’t see the difference.

      • JR November 9, 2014 at 9:43 am

        *mysterious, not steroids. Auto correct is weird today..lol

  • My Evil Twin November 8, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Well, this certainly does prove the old adage, “FOOL’S NAMES AND FOOLISH FACES ALWAYS SEEN IN PUBLIC PLACES.” (OK, so I modified it a bit, so sue me.)
    What an idiot. Wonder if she is related to the “rock pusher?”

  • that native November 8, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    + make her do the rest of the clean up.

  • Bree November 8, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Did we forget about the incident with Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall who toppled the rocks in Goblin Valley? Neither one of them spent time in jail and both of them got off with a slap on the wrist. Granted, the drawings by this woman can be seen in multiple places in the National Parks but, why do we want blood in this case when the Boy Scout leaders walked free?

    • Mike November 8, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      We wanted “blood” in that case also. But that is over and sadly those “leaders” of young men got off easily. It does not change the punishment this jerk needs.

      • Herd November 9, 2014 at 8:27 am

        Church. The ticket to keeping out of jail for your criminal acts.

  • John November 8, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Don’t lock her up! I don’t want to for the bill for her room and board! Too many freeloaders in there already!

  • cfmoore November 8, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Send the FBI to arrest her. It is crazy this has gone on so long without an arrest.

  • Zonkerb November 8, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Put that idiot in hand cuffs and then drag her stupid azz across the country and make her clean her GARBAGE up and then give her a jail cell for about 15 years

  • Mean Momma November 8, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    I’m just jealous that she gets to travel to so many cool national parks!

  • Zonkerb November 9, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Hey she didn’t draw a picture of anybody dancing in Dixie so that sure will reduce her sentence.. …*..okay here come all the whines complaining about the dance comments LOL… I love irritating them…. Whaaaaaaaa lWhaaaaaaaa grow up
    Ed. ellipsis: …*

  • re November 9, 2014 at 7:35 am

    ……what a loser. How about loses citizenship or four year tour of duty in marines. My biggest fear of showing eastern or city people amazing places is that they’ll come back and do something exactly like this..

    • JR November 9, 2014 at 9:45 am

      I’m sure eastern people that come to visit are significantly more respectful of the land than locals are.

  • My Evil Twin November 9, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Personally, I feel that if she is going to act like an out of control child, she should be treated like one. Turn her over somebody’s knee and spank her bottom! And do it on youtube so all the other wannabe vandals can see it.

  • Acey November 9, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    How about we publicly stone her to death? Maybe we should simply take a little time to teach our youngers’ respect and protection of the land. Those of you that love the natural beauty of the land; anybody have any neighbor kids they can teach and influence? This young woman is not evil, but obviously wasn’t thinking things through. She has some things to learn. who will be her teacher?

    • My Evil Twin November 10, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      She was likely stoned when she did this.

  • flashlight November 10, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Where’s Ed K.? I want to hear him say “Just let the kids paint!” ; )

  • Wilbur November 11, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    those “defacers” come in all shapes and sizes. Your prejudices are showing.

    http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2014/11/08/ams-woman-paints-faces-defacing-8-national-parks-including-zion-canyonlands/

  • zerotolerance December 7, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    What a useless … she is. That isn’t art, that’s a little … who needs to get her … kicked and grow up.
    Ed. ellipses.

  • Jim C. December 29, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Meanwhile, with the help of tax subsidies, a far worse blight is being forced into rural and wilderness areas. I’m referring to monster wind turbines that render these graffiti scrawls dust specks by comparison.

    Oh, but “they’re beautiful” claim the fake environmentalists. “We need millions more wind turbines to save the planet!”

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