On Friday, BLM staff, DWP and Inyo Juvenile Probation staff joined forcers to start the graffiti clean up in Chipmunk Canyon near Bishop. With chemical paint remover and a pressure washer, crews went to work to remove graffiti from the granite rocks. The clean up will be partially paid for by the people who did the painting.
The rock on the side of the road to Chipmunk Canyon has long been known as a place where youth gather to party, but in recent weeks the trash and graffiti on the rocks got out of hand.
The Inyo Sheriffs Department responded to a citizen complaint on December 30th after one rock was completely covered in blue paint. Other nearby rocks are covered in more traditional graffiti such as initials and peace signs. Since we first aired the story, someone painted a swastika on the blue rock.
The responsibility to remove graffiti belongs to the property owner. In this case the painted rocks are located on both BLM land and DWP land. Both agencies have policies to clean up graffiti when it is reported or found.
For the BLM, this means using a $50 a gallon chemical paint remover and a pressure washer to remove the paint. On Friday, BLM staff went to work to remove the most offensive graffiti on the blue rock which is on DWP Land. This rock will take more work. Crews then went up the hill to try to wash graffiti off additional rocks on BLM land. Juvenile Probation staff brought along two young men who needed to do community service to clean up trash in the area.
For the actual graffiti clean up, BLM staff explained that the kids that painted the rock blue had been identified and are set to help pay for the clean up. After leaning on a few sources, Juvenile Probation staff had been able to figure out who had done some of the graffiti. While the blue rock had been painted with a 2010, it appears that the vandals were members of the Bishop High School class of 2009, some of whom had been home from college on break when the rock was painted up.
As BLM staff removed layers of paint, graffiti from the past came to the surface, revealing how difficult this problem will be to tackle. BLM staff and Juvenile Probation plan to continue their efforts to stay on top of graffiti on our public lands.