Idaho man apologizes for vandalizing Corona Arch

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A photo posted on social media in spring 2018 shows Ryan Andersen and his family posing next to the base of Corona Arch, beneath the "R ♡ J" graffiti Andersen is accused of scratching into the arch.

IDAHO Falls, Idaho — An Idaho Falls business owner issued an apology Thursday for vandalizing a natural arch near Moab last week.

“I am very sorry and embarrassed for my recent actions when visiting Corona Arch in southern Utah. While hiking in the Moab area with my family, I drew with a sandstone shard, a heart with my and my wife’s initials and the year above it. At that moment, I foolishly thought I was conveying my love for my wife when, in fact, I was tarnishing the experience for others who also want to enjoy magnificent scenery. My actions were wrong. I am extremely sorry for my conduct. I acted in the spur of the moment and did not stop to think about what I was doing,” wrote Ryan Andersen in a statement on his website. (Read the full statement below.)

A photo posted on Imgur, Reddit and other social media platforms last week shows Andersen and his family posing in front of graffiti scratched into the base of the arch.

“Hiking related… we were hiking Corona Arch yesterday in Utah & the guy in the red shirt proudly made his mark on the Arch even after we asked him to stop. Then sent his 2 teenage boys down to switch plates on their trucks. We turned a photos into NPS and reported them. What a bummer tho that people would willingly do this. Our hiking areas should remain as pristine as we found them!,” a caption accompanying the picture said.

Andersen has been facing online backlash since the vandalism incident, including negative comments and reviews for his company – Andersen Hitches – on Google, YouTube, Amazon and Facebook.

A tweet from the Bureau of Land Management said the incident is under investigation.

Read Ryan Andersen’s apology:

DEAR FRIENDS AND CONCERNED CITIZENS,

I am very sorry and embarrassed for my recent actions when visiting Corona Arch in southern Utah. While hiking in the Moab area with my family, I drew with a sandstone shard, a heart with my and my wife’s initials and the year above it.

At that moment, I foolishly thought I was conveying my love for my wife when, in fact, I was tarnishing the experience for others who also want to enjoy magnificent scenery. My actions were wrong. I am extremely sorry for my conduct. I acted in the spur of the moment and did not stop to think about what I was doing.

Sometimes, our biggest mistakes can lead us to become better people. From now on, I will endeavor to leave no trace and help to protect our public lands. As part of that commitment, I have pledged to pay for the BLM’s work to restore the damage I caused. I have also pledged to work with the government to speak out on this issue so others do not make the same mistake that I made. I truly believe that all of us have the responsibility to help ensure that our public lands remain pristine.

I accept full responsibility for my actions. Neither Andersen Hitches nor its hard working employees, who are committed to supporting our loyal customers and their own families, had any involvement in my wrongdoing. To those dedicated employees, I offer my sincere apology. Going forward, I will do everything I can to show my employees, my community, and the public at large that this conduct is not what I stand for.

Sincerely,

Ryan Andersen

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