The National Parks Authority (NPA) has expressed shock and dismay at the “deliberate and unconscionable” actions of some hikers who have travelled the Carpenter Rock trail that leads to the Pillars of Hercules and the pool formation known as Mermaid Gardens.
Names and messages have been carved into the famed rock formations on Antigua’s south coast, a release said.
The NPA has reported the matter to police and is now considering other measures to put a halt to the practice.
“The NPA has observed an obvious increase in traffic on the trails ever since the authorities curtailed activities that usually attract large numbers as a necessary measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” the release continued.
As the restrictions relaxed, many have been making use of park trails as a way to escape the confines of their homes to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise after the prolonged period of lockdown.
“But never would we have thought that it would have come to this,” said Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Martin after receiving reports that the Pillars of Hercules had been defaced with graffiti.
“This is not only a major national landmark, but also one of the most prominent features of our beautiful coastline that visitors sailing to Antigua will see. First it was the litter on the trails, now this,” Martin declared as she registered her disappointment.
The national park is a protected area in Antigua and Barbuda and its natural assets are safeguarded by legislation.
The defacing, destroying or removal of the park’s natural or cultural assets is a punishable act under the law. Anyone found in violation can be fined up to $5,000, or sentenced to six months in prison.