Texas Man Jailed For Vandalizing Yellowstone Park Monument
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS -- A Texas man was sentenced to three days in jail on Tuesday for carving his initials into the iconic Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park, according to a news release from the park.
Dakota D. Tipton, 26, of Joshua, Texas, also must pay $250 in restitution and $40 in court fees, according to the sentence handed down by U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the Mammoth Hot Springs Justice Center.
The case started on June 10 when a park visitor called dispatch to report Tipton was carving his initials into a keystone above a small walkway arch next to the main arch with the words, “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
Tipton admitted to a ranger he used a tool to carve his initials, and called it "a bad decision."
The ranger issued him a mandatory appearance citation for vandalism and appeared by phone at the Justice Center on Tuesday. He probably will serve his jail sentence near his home south of Fort Worth, Texas. The U.S. Marshal Service or the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will decide where that will be.
Measuring the cultural resource loss of the vandalism is difficult, the news release said.
Park spokeswoman Charissa Reid said people may not immediately think of cultural resources when they think of Yellowstone National Park, but they're part of its treasured history.
"We hope that this incident, while unfortunate, reminds everyone that it is their responsibility to not only help us protect the wildlife and all the natural beauty in the park, but the cultural resources as well."
This cultural resource was born April 24, 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the arch made from local columnar basalt. The arch greeted visitors who arrived by the Northern Pacific Railroad in Gardiner, Mont. The 50-foot-high arch remains a favorite photo spot for visitors.
The Roosevelt Arch is part of the Fort Yellowstone National Historic Landmark District. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior designates such landmarks because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the nation's heritage.
Meanwhile, the major vandalism case involving four men from a Vancouver, B.C., company called High on Life will have its next status conference at the Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs on Aug. 8.