A popular canyon area of Joshua Tree National Park has been shut down because vandals have defaced the area with graffiti splashed across rocks and archeological sites, officials said Monday.
Rattlesnake Canyon has been shut down temporarily as park officials assess the damage, which apparently has been encouraged by people on social media sites, according to officials.
"The continued malicious desecration of the national park has now impacted archeological sites," park officials said in a statement.
Park rangers began noticing the scrawls in January. "While this started as a few markings," officials said, "the use of social media has appeared to spark numerous individuals' interest in adding to the vandalism."
The area will be closed at least through April 30. After that, officials will consider reopening the area.