Recently, Mark Twain National Forest in southwest Missouri was desecrated by vandals in several recreational sites. Mark Twain National Forest officials are now asking for the public’s help to catch these vandals.
The National Forest is an iconic national landmark that was established on September 11, 1939. It was named after the famous writer and lecturer, Mark Twain.
Mark Twain National Forest is a gigantic forest that takes up almost 11 percent of Missouri. Mark Twain National Forest covers 29 counties and almost 15 million acres. It was originally a split between Clark National Forest and Mark Twain National Forest, but in 1976 both forests were combined to make Mark Twain National Forest.
The National Forest is mainly within the Ozark Highlands, which include many different kinds of wildlife, mountains, and springs. The Ozarks are also said to have old volcanoes as well as many hidden springs and caves. The spring that the Mark Twain National Forest is most famous for is Greer Spring. Greer Spring was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1980, and pumps around 214 million gallons of water a day. The scenic view the Mark Twain National Forest offers is great; unfortunately, many recreational area including camping grounds have been vandalized.
The latest vandalism that occurred was the bulletin board at the Camp Ridge Campground in Christian County. But this is not the only site that has been vandalized. Officials have reported that sites in Barry county, Christian county, Douglas county, Howell county, Ozark county, Stone county, and Taney county have all been vandalized already.
Most of the vandalism that has occurred has been on a small scale. According to Mark Twain National Forest District Recreation Manager Darla Rein:
Vandals have stolen the locking mechanism for the dam controls, picnic tables have been painted with graffiti, grills have been damaged and water lines broken. With the water lines broken, water is not available for users of the day use area.
Obviously, this has major consequences to the park and any tourists hoping to visit. Rein has stated that if anyone is caught vandalizing, they will be subject to heavy fines and penalties.
It’s sad that there are people vandalizing this treasured national park. Many park rangers and visitors are worried that the vandals will come back if not caught.
“If you should see any vandalism being done on the National Forest, contact the Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District of the Mark Twain National Forest at (417) 683-4428 and report it. We would appreciate your support in helping us protect your Forest lands and facilities,” Darla Rein said in a plea to the public.
[Image via USDA Forest Service]