Forget initials carved into trees or rubbish thrown from one side of the road – Utah's Red Fleet State Park has major vandalism problems. Tourists have smashed old stone blocks and thrown them into a nearby reservoir, the Utah State Park blog said.
These chunks of rust-colored sandstone are marked with the 200-million-year-old footprints of dinosaurs.
"It has become a pretty big problem," said the spokesman for the Dean Chavez Department of State Parks, Salt Lake Tribune . "They just want to throw rocks off the side What they do not know These rocks pick them up, they're covered in dinosaur tracks."
Although some tracks are very different, "just like many do not," park manager Josh Hansen said the park blog.
Scientists believe that this northeastern part of Utah's desert park was once a swamp. Eight foot birds of prey left their tracks in the swampy ground. Now, 200 million years later, they are the jewels in the crown of a park visited by thousands of people each year.
Read more: NASA: Discovery of the Dinosaur Footprint Unveils Ancient Frying Rhea in the Space Agency's Own Backyard
Hansen recently stopped a young boy throwing a tracked rock into the water. The child has already thrown at least two into the reservoir, reports the Tribune . Visitors who have become vandals have hacked heavily on the sandstone for the past six months. At least 10 tracks were destroyed, according to the blog of the park.
Some plates sink underwater, but some are destroyed in impact and others simply disintegrate, Tribune reports.
The park has installed additional signs warning visitors not to disturb these ancient rocks. To do, said Hansen, is a crime. "It's illegal to move rocks with tracks," he told the park's blog. "Annoying her like this is an act of vandalism."
Read more: Ancient human footprints are the oldest ever found in North America
Park officials are no strangers to this crime. In 2001, three Scouts were brought to justice for throwing stones into the Red Sea Reservoir. At that time, divers returned with about 90 percent of the discarded footprints, the New York Times reported. The park can also send divers during this time.
"That was a continuing problem that we really would like to stop," Chavez told the Washington Post . "These tracks are an important part of what makes Red Fleet State Park such a beautiful and special place to be able to walk, hike and even swim or stand by a boat next to the dinosaurs incredible feeling. "