Thefts and vandalism occurring in North Cascades National Park

Vince Richardson, Skagit Valley Herald, Mount Vernon, Wash.
·2 min read

Apr. 17—The Highway 20 west entrance portal to North Cascades National Park was recently vandalized, and thefts at the park's trailheads are increasing.

At the entrance portal, the massive sign welcoming visitors usually boasts an arrowhead emblem synonymous with the National Park Service.

The arrowhead was recently broken in half, and staff with the park service are asking those who may know about the vandalism to contact them.

"It looked like someone was just trying to steal the arrowhead," said North Cascades National Park Service Complex Chief Ranger Brandon Torres. "Like any sign that is out there, it certainly occurs. It appears they were trying to remove it and it broke in half."

There is, however, some good news.

"The great part about this is a visitor has already contacted us who found the broken portion of the sign, just sitting there on the ground," Torres said. "And that person is already going to mail it back."

Torres was unsure about whether the sign could be fixed or if it will need to be replaced.

Those who have information about this investigation can call 888-653-0009.

Meanwhile, park officials continue to investigate thefts within the park, including those at trailhead parking areas.

"If there is a message from us it's to make sure people secure their valuables," Torres said. "As we come out of the winter and as we approach June, and people start parking more at trailheads, not only here but throughout the state, secure valuables."

Torres said in 2019, there were 49 reported vehicle break-ins inside the park, and in 2020 the number fell to 21.

"It's great that the number was down last year, but it's still horrible," he said. "I've been a victim of this sort of crime and it's no fun for anybody, especially when you are out recreating. It can't be stressed enough, if you see something, report it."

Those who note suspicious activity in a national park can tell a park employee, give the special agents of the NPS Investigative Services Branch a call or text at 888-653-0009, go to nps.gov/ISB and click on "Submit a Tip"⁣⁣ or email nps_isb@nps.gov.

Reporting parties need not identify themselves.

"We've had some successful cases that are still moving through the courts," Torres said. "They are hard cases to work because these people are from all over the state and sometimes they are just traveling across the nation with time, opportunity and it's just such a fast, easy crime."

— Reporter Vince Richardson: 360-416-2181, vrichardson@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter:@goskagit, Facebook.com/VinceReports/