Typo Eradication Advancement League
A Statement on the
Signs of our National Parks and
There are many aspects to the ongoing task of being a responsible American citizen. One aspect in particular is often overlooked; namely, that one should not vandalize or damage signs on the National Parks and public lands. Such actions include but are not limited to fixing spelling mistakes on signs. It is absolutely egotistical for one to think that one can tell others how to spell. In addition, one never knows whether a sign has historic value concealed within it. What appears to be an ordinary sign may in fact be the work of a heroic local artist. Some signs may be irreplaceable and unfixable. One should ask before modifying signs, because altering signs without the permission of the owner is a crime!!
The act of vandalizing or damaging signs on the National Parks and public lands has a historic and archaeological impact that one cannot underestimate. Certain of the signs may have been put into place at the birth of the park, thus representing as intrinsic a part of its identity as any tree or canyon within the park. Millions of American and international visitors pass through these sites each year; their impression of a National Park or public land can be forever altered by so seemingly small an action as vandalizing or damaging a single sign. One risks tarnishing the image of a site, and that of the national agencies that preserve it, for generations to come.
The possible penalties for vandalizing or damaging signs on the National Parks and public lands are numerous and severe. One might, for example, be sentenced to pay not only a few thousand dollars’ worth of restitution fees, but also several thousand dollars in fines as ordered by the court. One might also face a year or more of banishment from all National Parks and public lands. There is also the possibility of being incarcerated in federal prison for up to six months. The additional, significant costs of legal representation and travel and accommodation for the court date should also be noted.
One’s sense of civic duty, understanding of the importance of these signs, and knowledge of the penalties associated with vandalizing or damaging them should prevent one from carrying out any action to harm signs on National Parks and public lands. Altering signs without the permission of the owner is a crime!!
Comments? E-mail media [at] jeffdeck.com.