CWC Funds Graffiti Abatement in the Central Wasatch
This year, the Central Wasatch Commission approved funding for graffiti abatement in the tri-canyon area (Millcreek, Big, and Little Cottonwood Canyons). The Commission approved funding $2,600 to go towards The Wasatch Graffiti Busters’ goal to remove graffiti from rocks and human-made structures in the canyons. The Wasatch Graffiti Busters is an organization of members and volunteers around Salt Lake County who work to remove graffiti in the Central Wasatch and other places in Utah including American Fork Canyon, Black Rock, and Suicide Rock for three years. They recently became a nonprofit organization and asked for assistance to fund more graffiti removal projects. The Wasatch Graffiti Busters members and volunteers started 2020 graffiti removal work in April 2020, removing tags from the Cottonwood Canyons. They worked with the Unified Police Department (UPD) Canyon Patrol to both report graffiti tags in the canyons and receive reports of new graffiti tags from UPD officers.
To remove graffiti from watershed areas, like the Central Wasatch Canyons, the Wasatch Graffiti Busters use Elephant Snot®, a watershed-safe solvent. Elephant Snot® is $335/gallon, making it an expensive product that will only remove about 10 graffiti tags per gallon. The CWC provided $2,600 to the Wasatch Graffiti Busters to buy Elephant Snot® and a haul-in power washer. At the time this project was funded Peter Lenz, a Wasatch Graffiti Busters member, estimated that there were about 300 tags that would need to be removed this summer season. With the Commission’s funding, Wasatch Graffiti Busters has been able to remove at least 173 graffiti tags from natural surfaces like rocks and have painted over 153 tags from human-made surfaces like pavilion sites and benches. Right now, the WGB is focused on graffiti removal at the B Gate area where people can cross a bridge and vandalize the old pavilion across the street. Scott Whipperman, a founding member or the Wasatch Graffiti Busters, calls this “ground zero” for graffiti in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Why does graffiti removal matter to the Central Wasatch and the Mountain Accord Charter?
Graffiti removal will both protect the environment and steward recreational
access in the Central Wasatch. Everyone in the Salt Lake Valley relies on water from the Central Wasatch Mountains to drink, shower, cook with, and more every day. It is crucial that the water coming out of these watersheds is flowing through streams with few toxins so that it is easier for water treatment plants to treat and safe for community members to use. If the Wasatch Graffiti Busters have access to the watershed-safe supplies they need to remove graffiti from natural and human-made surfaces, they will be able to continue to steward the areas in which we all love to play and seek refuge.
The Wasatch Graffiti Busters members are always looking for more volunteers to help with on-the-ground graffiti removal projects. To get involved contact WGB members Mary Young (firstname.lastname@example.org or (801) 924-2491) or Scott Whipperman (801) 915-7300.
Written by Quinn Graves
Information gathered from Wasatch Graffiti Busters Members Mary Young, Peter Lenz, and Scott Whipperman
Edited by Lindsey Nielsen