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Vandals struck a public conservation area over Memorial Day weekend

DNR responded to reports of hateful speech Sunday.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Vandals graffitied hate speech on a park sign in Thurston County on Sunday.

The graffiti was reported Sunday to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. The graffiti depicted a swastika and the n-word on a trailhead sign at Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area just north of Olympia. 

The department shared an image of the sign on Tuesday via its Twitter account, including the caption “Hate has no place on public lands. None.”

A member of the public noticed the graffiti on Sunday and called the department’s police to report it.  An officer arrived at the trailhead and spray painted over the hate speech, according to the department.

“We are disappointed and disgusted that someone would make such a hateful statement in a public space that is conserved for everyone to share,” the department tweeted Tuesday. “We're incredibly grateful to the staff member who sprang into action on her day off - and to the DNR officer who initially responded.”

The department’s natural area manager responded to the incident after the officer covered the graffiti, and used heavy-duty cleaning products to remove the paint and graffiti from the sign.

“We obviously try to be proactive when our staff is on duty to prevent or quickly react to vandalism incidents, but we have 13 law enforcement officers to patrol 3 million acres of uplands and 2.6 million acres of tidelands, so we just cannot be everywhere at once,” said Kenny Ocker, a communication manager for the department. 

The department asks anyone who sees vandalism or hate speech and symbols to report it to forestwatch@dnr.wa.gov or by calling 855-883-8368.


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