State park vandalism – a pointless crime in Pennsylvania


“Look at this picnic table that someone flipped upside down into the lake. Isn’t that funny?” NOT!

Then there is the wooden trail sign that someone broke, the snapped bench on a picnic table, the board pried up on a footbridge, or the initials painted on a state park pavilion. Unfortunately, it goes on and on. I mean, who cares if JS was here in 2019?

Destruction of public property has always bothered me. It makes no sense. Vandalism in a state park really makes my blood boil.

More people have been using Pennsylvania’s parks, and I have noticed more of this kind of vandalism lately — at a half-dozen different state parks. So, this crime isn’t just localized to one place.

We all pay the salaries of the park employees who repair the damage, and we pay for the new signs, picnic tables or whatever was destroyed. Even worse, some of that damage is repaired by park volunteers — good people who donate their time for the betterment of our parks.

There is a multi-million-dollar backlog of important park projects that need to be done across the state, and then people with brains the size of ants needlessly add to that list of projects by destroying park property.

Pennsylvania’s state parks continue to have free admission. However, currently under consideration in the legislature, there is a bill that would begin to charge entrance fees. I hope that this doesn’t come to pass. I remember growing up in a family of seven kids with one wage-earner. If my dad had to pay for us to have a picnic or go swimming at a state park, we probably would not have gone. Times have changed, but there are other families in the same boat today.

I can understand the kind of vandalism that might follow being dumped by your favorite girl, or maybe a misguided attempt to get even with the boss who fired you. I don’t condone this, but at least I understand it. It has a clear motive.

But state park vandalism — what is the motive? What is the point?

Is it fueled by alcohol? Spawned by stupidity? Teenage peer pressure? I have no idea, but I guess that it could be any or all of those. I do know that it wasn’t the wind that picked up the picnic table and flipped it into the lake. It took two or more people to lift it, and they were not 10-year-olds.

My guess is that state park vandalism is probably done by the same type of person who uses road signs for target practice. I just wish that it would stop.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Mark Nale

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