Reports of artistic vandalism in 10 national parks in the West have prompted an investigation from the National Park Service, which said it is looking into incidents in five states, including California.
The agency said in an announcement Wednesday that acts of defacement have been reported in Yosemite National Park in California, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and in parks in Utah, Arizona and Oregon.
Photographs of what appear to be the creative vandalism in question have been reproduced on numerous blogs and other sites. They show a range of stealth artwork, including drawings of faces and figures made in chalk and other substances on large rock formations as well as street-art-type graffiti markings on other rock formations.
Much of the illegal artwork seems to be related and has been signed with the moniker "Creepytings." The blogs Modern Hiker and Callipidder have linked the signed vandalism to an individual named Casey Nockett, who has posted images of artwork on an Instagram account that has since been deactivated.
It remains unclear to what extent, if any, Nocket is linked to the vandalism in the parks being investigated by federal authorities.
Modern Hiker has posted screen grabs of some of the Instagram images in question.
Calipidder, which is devoted to exploring outdoor California, has also reproduced screen grabs of some of the vandalism signed with the mysterious name.
Acts of vandalism in national parks are considered a federal misdemeanor and carry a potential jail sentence and fine.