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Art or Vandalism? Painting Spree Hits U.S. National Parks

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Image: Crater Lake Instagram
This undated photo taken from an Instagram posting shows an overlook of Crater Lake in Oregon with a rock painting. The National Park Service is investigating paintings and drawings of eerie faces found on rocks across the West in some of the country’s most recognizable wilderness areas, including Crater Lake. AP

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SEATTLE — The National Park Service says it’s investigating a New York artist as a suspect in graffiti vandalism in parks across the western United States after she posted at least one picture of herself defacing a protected park on social media. One photo obtained by the blog Modern Hiker and shared with the National Park Service shows the artist putting the finishing touches on an acrylic drawing of a cigarette-smoking woman at Utah's Canyonlands National Park in June. Other photographs show other graffiti, such as a woman with blue hair at Oregon's Crater Lake and a bald man with a snake protruding from his mouth at California's Yosemite, all signed "Creepytings" and dated 2014.

The woman is suspected for vandalism in at least 10 National Parks, including the Grand Canyon in Arizona and California's Joshua Tree. The hiking blog gathered the photos earlier this month by screenshot from the suspect's Instagram and Tumblr accounts and sent them to the National Park Service on Wednesday. Park Service spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said the artist had not been arrested or charged with a crime. Officials were working out the best ways to remove the acrylic graffiti, which could cause permanent damage, Picavet said.

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