Grand Teton cleans up spray-paint vandalism

Cleaning Luther Cabin in Grand Teton National Park.


In January, staff at Grand Teton National Park cleaned up a vandalized historic cabin. Last September, a visitor reported that it had been marked with spray paint.

Traces of damage remain even after the clean-up

The paint was removed by six historic preservationists from the park as well as the Western Center for Historic Preservation, an NPS Intermountain Region program based at the park.

The preservationists spent a considerable amount of time cleaning the cabin wall. They repeatedly applied a tested mixture of eco-friendly products, gently scrubbed the logs with brushes, and then rinsed them with warm water to remove the paint. While the paint was mostly removed, some remained in cracks and crevices in the wood.

Unfortunately, this process also removed the logs' 100-year-old gray patina. The park's cultural resource specialists plan to restore the cabin wall to its historic appearance by exposing it to sunlight and moisture and using a product that accelerates the aging process.

photo: after cleaning. credit: NPS.

Positioned at the park's eastern boundary, this cabin was once the residence of Luther Taylor, who purchased the land and built the cabin in 1923. The site is commonly referred to as the “Shane cabin” because of its appearance in the 1953 western film Shane, starring Alan Ladd. It is soon to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Cultural resources like the Luther Taylor cabin are part of the historic fabric of Grand Teton National Park. This cabin and other historic structures convey the stories of early settlers and provide evidence of their pioneer life in Jackson Hole, prompting visitors to learn about the past,” Grand Teton Superintendent David Vela told National Parks Traveler.

Vandalized sites belong to all Americans

“While vandalism is always a crime, this graffiti attack on such a treasured historic cabin is especially troubling. We take vandalism of this sort very seriously, and appreciate those who keep watch over the park’s special places and call whenever something is amiss,” added Superintendent Vela. Anyone with knowledge about any vandalism at Grand Teton is encouraged to call Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3301 (callers can remain anonymous).

Sadly, Grand Teton wasn't the only target for vandalism on public lands last year. Last February, a 190-million-year-old dinosaur track went missing near Utah's Canyonlands National Park, and in September a piece of a fossilized dinosaur bone went missing from the Utah portion of Dinosaur National Monument. In October, a vandal was subject to investigations after painting on rocks in many national parks and posting pictures of them on her Instagram account.

America's public lands are public, but that doesn't mean they are open to vandalism. It means they have been protected for the enjoyment of all. Please remember to 'leave no trace' - and remind your kids and friends to do so as well. Although they've been legally protected, keeping America's most treasured places safe depends on all of us being stewards of them.


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