Natural scenery at Lake Tahoe being defaced by graffiti

SAND HARBOR, NV (KGO) -- Lake Tahoe residents are fighting back against those who would desecrate the beautiful landscape.

It's a war against graffiti that's increasingly popping up in places known for natural beauty.

A team of volunteers, brushes in hand, have spent many hours scrubbing rocks at Lake Tahoe, natural scenery that's been defaced by vandals.

"It really infuriates us as residents," Spike Wimmer said. He's part of the Tahoe Vandalism Removal Squad, a volunteer group started on Facebook with a sole mission to clean up graffiti.

In some cases, it appears, it's meant to be whimsical. "It's not funny to us. If you have artistic ability, perhaps you need to go find a different medium so you can make some money at it," Wimmer said.

It's happening at places like Hidden Beach on Tahoe's remote East Shore and near Bonsai Rock, south of Sand Harbor. Someone there has scribbled on a majestic rock out in the lake.

It's happening away from the lake, too, like near Donner Summit, an otherwise pristine overlook in all its natural beauty - postcard perfect except for rocks that have been here for centuries littered with graffiti.

"It's pretty saddening, I'm not big into desecrating our forest here, not a sight I want to see," visitor Brendan Ortiz said.

Some of it just popped up recently while other tags have been here for a year or longer, much to the dismay of Nevada County Sheriff's Sgt. Dan Saunders.

"Don't do it because you're just ruining the experience for everybody else who comes to the area, they come to the area for this beautiful view like I said. Last thing they want to see is somebody's thoughts or expressions," he said.

Police want the public's help. If they see people tagging the natural beauty up here, they are asking them to get license plate and vehicle information. Even if police get there in time and arrest the taggers, the charge is relatively minor -- just misdemeanor vandalism.

Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.