CAVE CREEK, AZ - For Park Ranger Kevin Smith, the sight is hard to bear.
“I don’t get it,” Smith said.
As we hike up Black Mountain trail in Cave Creek, we see what has this community so upset.
“The paint appeared on the saguaros sometime last week,” Smith said.
Of all things, vandals took aim at one of the states most iconic plants.
“The saguaros are kind of painted in sequential order going up the mountain,” Smith said.
Not one, not two, but seven saguaro cacti now grace the mountain covered in lime green spray paint.
All painted with numbers one through seven along the hike.
“Oh, it breaks my heart,” said MJ Caldwell, who hikes the popular trail a few times a week and is disgusted by the disrespect someone showed for this natural marvel.
“Someone might think it’s a prank but its really not cool,” Caldwell said.
On Thursday morning, county park crews and volunteers will use two different chemicals on the cacti with hopes of removing the paint without causing permanent damage.
“Hopefully if we just apply a little bit in a diluted form and just start gently scrubbing it first, hopefully, we’ll be able to get rid of it,” Smith said.
And around this trail, there’s also a lot of hope that who did it, gets caught and charged.
“There are a lot of people in this town who hike this trail regularly, and they’ve really got ownership of this trail, and I’m sure they’re taking it personally when somebody does this kind of thing,” Smith said.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. If you have any information on who committed the crime, you are asked to contact them immediately.