Damn It – Tree Taggers are the Worst


“Dear PoPville,

After a long hiatus, I walked the trail off 17th St NW in Mt Pleasant by Rock Creek Parkway. I’m not sure what the park is called, but it’s a very well used area by joggers and dog owners in Mt Pleasant.

Over the weekend, I noticed that about a dozen trees or more have been tagged with graffiti and also maybe mutilated by knives. It was very disheartening to see a beautiful wooded area damaged by a bunch of punks. There have always been some sketchy elements hanging out there, but there was never any graffiti before. I went back a day or two later to walk my roommate’s dog, and I noticed that there was new graffiti as well – mostly new graffiti over the old ones.

I reported the graffiti using the DC 311 app. I have spoken with other users of the trail, so I know I’m not the only person who reported this. I believe the graffiti has been up for a few weeks.

I know there’s a crime wave in the city, and it makes me feel unsafe to walk this park. I think that the graffiti should be removed immediately and I’m hoping that the place is monitored by police.”

Ed. Note: I don’t necessarily think graffiti correlates with your safety (though I do think those, especially those who tag trees are jackwagons) but I also spotted this scene under a bridge in Rock Creek on Piney Branch Parkway that could be just kids but left me a little unsettled:


18 Comment

  • How do you know these were damaged by a bunch of punks? Did they run off with mohawks and Aus Rotten back patches?

  • That area is Piney Branch Park, a segment of Rock Creek Park. It’s National Park Service property so I’m not sure that reporting the issue through DC 311 will result in any action. I’ve had some luck reporting issues to NPS using their form at http://www.nps.gov/rocr/contacts.htm.

  • Behind that chain link fence looks like where DC’s “It” would live. Way creepy.

  • “I think that the graffiti should be removed immediately”
    How does one remove graffiti from a tree without harming the tree? Is this possible?

    • The paint tag (while certainly ugly and not something I like seeing) is probably harmless to the tree. What is harmful to most trees is when people carve shit into the bark. Usually trees can self seal but sometimes it creates a vulnerable hole in the tree’s natural barrier. I still stand behind my suggestion for mitigating graffiti – perpetrators who are caught should have their tag iron-branded on the their forehead.

    • It can be painted over with special paint that blends with the trees. Just like with walls, aggressively covering markings on trees can be effective in deterring future tagging.

  • The homeless drug addicts who live in that park around that space are violent and dangerous. They aren’t “punks” they’re seriously mentally ill. Clearly the author hasn’t spent any time in that area because it’s not safe after dark and there is a lot of foot traffic in and out of that space. Perhaps I’m showing my age, but this isn’t a situation to finger wag at a bunch of kids. I’ve seen homeless drunks in that woods get in serious fights which we heard from 17th St, 18th St, Ingleside. From my perspective that is a very unsafe part of the park and I would not suggest walking through it.

    • Lyndsey

      I came here to say the same thing – used by joggers and dog walkers?? No way.

      • When was the last time you were there? Last summer, used that trail nearly every day and most of the time, I encountered other people?

        I’ve never seen homeless drunks, but I’ve definitely seen some sketchy teens, Latino workers, and pot smokers. I don’t mind the pot smokers; the sketchy teens in groups scare me. The Latino workers look sketchy too.

    • I used to take my dog on walks through that path – probably been 4 years or so, but I mostly ran into other people with dogs or kids, never any sketchy folks. Maybe it’s changed.

    • I run that section almost every night. The worst I usually see is some teenagers smoking pot. Maybe it’s different during the day…

    • Hmm…is this current? Because I jog through there at least once a week, on average,–though never after dark-and have never had a problematic encounter or even heard anything sketchy.

    • There isn’t much here that rings true, in my experience as a regular user of this area of Rock Creek Park.

  • “I also spotted this scene under a bridge in Rock Creek on Piney Branch Parkway that could be just kids but left me a little unsettled:”
    Not trying to be funny, but what in particular is unsettling in that photograph? It looks like a bit of graffiti under a bridge – as far as I can tell, that’s what the underside of that bridge has always looked like more or less. Am I missing something?

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