Note: This story has been updated to reflect that The Post Register broke the initial story, not EastIdahoNews.com
An Idaho man is under fire after pictures of an image he scratched on a historic archway in Utah made the rounds on social media.
Ryan Andersen, of Idaho Falls, scratched graffiti onto the famed Corona Arch outside of Moab, Utah, before posing for a picture with his wife, Jennifer, and their three children, according to EastIdahoNews.com. The graffiti included the initials “R” and “J” with a heart between them. Above the letters was the number 18, signifying the year.
The story was initially reported by The Post Register.
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The popular Corona Arch is about five miles west of Moab and not inside Arches National Park.
Andersen posted an apology letter online Thursday, admitting to the vandalism:
“DEAR FRIENDS AND CONCERNED CITIZENS,
I am very sorry and embarrassed for my recent actions when visiting Corona Arch in southern Utah. While hiking in the Moab area with my family, I drew with a sandstone shard, a heart with my and my wife’s initials and the year above it.
At that moment, I foolishly thought I was conveying my love for my wife when, in fact, I was tarnishing the experience for others who also want to enjoy magnificent scenery. My actions were wrong. I am extremely sorry for my conduct. I acted in the spur of the moment and did not stop to think about what I was doing.
Sometimes, our biggest mistakes can lead us to become better people. From now on, I will endeavor to leave no trace and help to protect our public lands. As part of that commitment, I have pledged to pay for the BLM’s work to restore the damage I caused. I have also pledged to work with the government to speak out on this issue so others do not make the same mistake that I made. I truly believe that all of us have the responsibility to help ensure that our public lands remain pristine.
I accept full responsibility for my actions. Neither Andersen Hitches nor its hard working employees, who are committed to supporting our loyal customers and their own families, had any involvement in my wrongdoing. To those dedicated employees, I offer my sincere apology. Going forward, I will do everything I can to show my employees, my community, and the public at large that this conduct is not what I stand for.”