This popular Phoenix hiking trail was defaced with, um, stick figures doing yoga?

KiMi Robinson
Arizona Republic
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On Jan. 2, 2023, a Reddit user claimed that “someone painted a couple yoga poses on rocks at the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.”

A rock near one of the most popular hiking trails in Phoenix appears to have been defaced with what look like stick figures doing yoga poses.

A Reddit user called Lovethatcountrypie posted a photo of the graffiti on Jan. 2 with the headline “Someone painted a couple yoga poses on rocks at the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.” They described the drawings as 2- to 3-foot-tall renderings northeast of Piestewa Peak in the saguaro-dotted Phoenix Mountains Preserve.

One of the figures appears to be doing natarajasana, also known as dancer pose, though the markings also may look like the letters “O” and “R” written sideways.

The Reddit user shared the approximate location where they claimed to have found the defacement — which appears to be an area off the Perl Charles Memorial and Piestewa Peak Freedom trails, west of the connection with the VOAZ Trail — in a message to The Arizona Republic.

Though graffiti is illegal, it’s unlikely that the perpetrator will be fined if they are found.

According to Ashley Patton, deputy communications director for the city, park rangers “must physically observe the violation in order to issue a citation.” A citation was not issued for this incident, Patton said.

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What does Phoenix do about graffiti vandalism?

It’s not unusual to find litter and vandalism on the city’s more than 200 miles of trails. However, Phoenix has laws prohibiting graffiti — including one detailed in Chapter 24, Article II, of the city code. Vandalism in a park is defined, in part, as “Defacing, damaging, disturbing or excavating any historical, prehistorical, archaeological, paleontological or geological site or feature.”

Someone convicted of such a violation would be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. They would be fined a minimum of $100, pay restitution to the city and be required to do at least eight hours of community service.

Someone who commits vandalism in the Piestewa Peak and Dreamy Draw area is not only illegally damaging city property but also the homeland of “the O’Odham and Piipaash peoples and their ancestors, who have inhabited this landscape from time immemorial to present day,” as written on land acknowledgement signs found at trailheads.

Phoenix Parks and Recreation staff "work quickly to remove graffiti and take care to ensure further damage isn’t done, including using environmentally safe products," reads a statement that Public Information Specialist Keyera Williams shared with The Republic.

"The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department takes graffiti, or any vandalism, to our preserves very seriously," according to the statement. "We encourage everyone to leave no trace and enjoy our desert and mountain parks and preserves responsibly."

How to report vandalism at Phoenix parks and preserves

If you spot graffiti at a preserve in Phoenix, report it to the Natural Resources Division by calling 602-495-5458, emailing [email protected] or filling out a form at http://www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/contact-parks-natural-resources-staff.

Elsewhere in the city, graffiti can be reported to the Neighborhood Services Department's Graffiti Free Phoenix by calling 602-534-4444, extension 1; emailing [email protected]; or selecting the "report it" function at http://www.phoenix.gov. Go to http://www.phoenix.gov/nsd/programs/graffiti to lean how to host a community cleanup, which the city provides materials for.

Reach the reporter at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @kimirobin and Instagram @ReporterKiMi.

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