Flagstaff, Arizona – High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens agreed to pay $1,000 for carving a heart into a red rock wall during a romantic trip to Sedona, Arizona. Such a vandalism act is practiced by many other people who often go unnoticed, but she was caught after posting a photo of the drawing on her Instagram page around Valentine’s Day.
The post, which no longer appears on her page, led some of her 18.2 million followers to criticize her wrongdoing and alert the media. The Forest Service took action against the actress and she then received a citation for “a misdemeanor count of damaging a natural feature on US Forest Service land,” according to a report by Fox News.
“I don’t think you understand how serious it is to vandalize in a national park. In some, it’s illegal to even take a rock. National parks are protected for a reason,” one fan commented on Vanessa’s post featuring her 1-by-one-foot heart, OK! UK reported.
A Flagstaff federal magistrate authorized the agreement April 19 but it was not made public until the Associated Press obtained a statement of probable cause and the deal resolving Hudgens’ citation from the federal judiciary under a records request, as reported by Fox News.
Hudgens admitted to carving the heart and the names with a rock and gave the authorities information of its exact location in an attempt to avoid further punishments, since damaging a natural feature can lead people to spend six months in jail and pay a $5,000 fine.
The 27-year-old actress told authorities that she had made the drawing on a geologic formation called Bell Rock. Her $1,000 payment was given to a volunteer group known as Friends of the Forest so they could restore the rock wall by sanding or scrubbing the rock.
Carvings trigger a broken windows effect
Brady Smith Coconino, National Forest Service spokesman, noted that although several other people who vandalize rock walls and publicize their actions are rarely caught by forest officials, Hudgens could not go unnoticed because she is a celebrity. He added that carvings make the public believe that it is just fine to deface and destroy the natural beauty of the popular tourist spot.
Jennifer Young, president of Friends of the Forest, told Fox News that about 10 to 15 volunteers visit the Red Rock Ranger District every other week to find reported graffiti and clean it up by suing sandpaper, wire brushes and a special drill. She said it happens a lot.
Source: Fox News