Ranger Minute: Frame Arch

Arches National Park


Some time in the past year, someone came up here with what we think was a Dremel tool and ground their name into the sandstone in Frame Arch.

It says "Andersen."

It's a pretty big scar of graffiti on a place that people come to enjoy the natural beauty of the park.

We are hoping to do something to disguise it and help disguise it from visitors' view.

We are testing a number of different materials. All of them are natural soils and rocks that come from this area of the park. So that hopefully we get a good color and texture match to the natural sandstone.

So we are going around and finding soil that's already broken loose from the natural geology and rocks that are already broken loose, and we crush them up and then sieve them so that we have grains of a certain size, and we mix that with an acrylic binder that's actually a stucco additive but it's got some plasticity to it, and then we use that in different concentrations depending on how hard we want the material to be.

So grinders can be really damaging to the rock. Obviously, what you're doing is you're removing a large portion of natural substrate.

So especially if you have graffiti like this, which is about a centimeter deep, that's a whole centimeter of surface that you're removing from this natural arch, which is why the park is here, I mean it's Arches National Park, and you're basically modifying it mechanically when you grind it away.

So this is a way to remove it in a way that's reversible so you're not actually taking anything away from the arch; you're just adding to it in a way that, if you decide in the future, you want to undo, you can take it out without any damage to the naturally occurring structure.


In October 2017, park staff began repairing deeply carved graffiti in the wall of Frame Arch. Rather than grinding the graffiti away, they used a new technique to fill it in.

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2 minutes, 56 seconds


NPS/Chris Wonderly

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