Idaho

In Idaho canyon, anti-Trump graffiti is among tags marring secluded cove

Brian Puyear takes pictures and explore the Perrine Coulee waterfall Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, along Canyon Springs Road in Twin Falls. A tourist stop for years, the canyon has had a rash of tagging in recent months.
Brian Puyear takes pictures and explore the Perrine Coulee waterfall Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, along Canyon Springs Road in Twin Falls. A tourist stop for years, the canyon has had a rash of tagging in recent months. Twin Falls Times-News

TWIN FALLS — Whoever Sierra is, residents and tourists alike are appalled to see her name painted on the canyon wall at the Perrine Coulee waterfall in the Snake River Canyon.

Brian Puyear and Sarah Gillum from Kansas City, Mo., drove down historic Canyon Springs Road to Centennial Park Monday and spotted the Perrine Coulee cascading over the canyon’s south rim. As they came back out of the canyon, they saw cars parked off the road near the falls and decided to stop to take photographs.

They crawled over rocks and through vines to enter an otherworldly cove carved in the rocks above the river. Water from the coulee plunged onto moss-covered basalt and vegetation some 200 feet below as a mist rose from the falls.

The two were stunned to see hot pink and blue graffiti amid such jaw-dropping beauty.

“As soon as we got down here, I said, ‘Who does this?’” Gillum said Monday. “It’s one thing to see it in a city, but in nature?”

The name Sierra and the initials SJ and MR, along with hearts and profane references to President Donald Trump, now mar the view of the waterfall.

“It’s sad — that’s for sure,” said Twin Falls photographer Jonathan Mills, who reported the vandalism to police on Saturday.

Mills and a friend were scouting locations for a photo shoot when they saw the graffiti. The paint was fresh, he said, probably sprayed Friday.

“It’s sad, but it’s a wake up call for us to protect our natural resources,” Mills said. “This deserves a call to action against these atrocities, not only to prevent but to clean up after the fact.”

Authorities are not sure which agency has jurisdiction of the canyon rim.

“It’s kind of a gray area,” said Lt. Terry Thueson of the Twin Falls Police Department, who hadn’t heard about the vandalism Monday when the Times-News contacted him.

Several callers reported the vandalism to Southern Idaho Regional Communication Center and dispatchers passed the information to the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies told SIRCOMM it was a county Parks and Waterways problem, a supervisor said.

But county parks Director Rick Novacek told the Times-News his department is responsible for Centennial Park but not the road into the canyon, which is owned by the city. In the past, Novacek’s crews have removed particularly profane graffiti on guard rail at the switchback.

Behind the waterfall is the remnants of old Blue Lakes Boulevard, which used to lead to a ferry, and later a bridge, that crossed the Snake River before the first rim-to-rim bridge was built in the late 1920s.

Jerome resident Mattie MacGregor takes the vandalism personally. She practices yoga nearly every morning under the waterfall.

“Once I drop into the canyon, I’m completely immersed in nature,” MacGregor said. “This is so disheartening.”

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