Vandalism in Water Canyon is on the rise, and recently public structures have felt the effects. A newly built brick restroom and its signage have been removed from the trailhead due to a 4 November 2017 arson.
From arson, to the felling of rocks and trees on the cliffs, to the etching of names and obscenities along the trail, 2017 and 2018 have been an eventful and destructive time for the wilderness area.
According to Kevin Barlow, Hildale Colorado City Fire Chief, “The fire department was notified after-the-fact of a fire in the BLM Water Canyon Trailhead restroom facility on 4 November 2017 at 1:30 PM.” Officials deployed a brush truck to the scene to ensure the fire was extinguished, then turned the investigation over to the Marshal’s office.
Sam Johnson, Acting Marshal, said officials had not found evidence indicating who set the fire. Johnson stated there had been an increase in arson incidents over the past few years, and encouraged residents to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
According to press release from Keith Rigtrup, St. George Field Office Manager, “This newly constructed restroom facility and trailhead were installed to accommodate the increasing recreational use in the area. Because of this damage, the restroom facility is now unusable and will require substantial repairs. We take this loss seriously as it is a cost to all taxpayers.”
The Bureau of Land management (BLM) is installing a prefabricated restroom facility to replace the brick structure.
There is an active investigation into the arson incident. Arson is a felony charge and poses a substantial risk to the community, representing a loss of resources when the fire department responds. If you have any information regarding the incident or any other vandalism, you can call (800) 227-7286 or contact the Marshal’s office.