Graffiti at Bald Rock

Graffiti is an ancient and enduring form of self-expression. While we recognize that tradition, Bald Rock Heritage Preserve is an inappropriate venue, at least for paint, chalk, ink, or other substances on the rock, or anywhere else, in the Preserve. Photography, on the other hand, would be much better.

Heritage Preserves are dedicated to protecting natural resources and graffiti is incompatible with that purpose, and therefore illegal. It is not possible to protect and preserve natural resources with paint covering the surface and crevices of the rock. Runoff from rains continues to slowly leach paint chemicals into the two precious headland streams, contaminating the water source, and jeopardizing the habitats of rare and endangered plants and animals.

By removing the graffiti and enforcing existing SCDNR laws banning litter, fires, fireworks, use of drugs and alcohol, and camping, we begin a restoration process to clean the water and rebuild plant and animal habitats.  A restored, naturally beautiful Bald Rock Heritage Preserve will continue to inspire, console, and embrace future generations of visitors with its stunning natural resources.

How can we prevent graffiti in the future?

A lot of things need to happen for the rocks and trees to be naturally beautiful and graffiti-free.  SCDNR needs to redesign the parking lot, entrance, access, security, and enforcement for the Preserve.  They may need additional staff and resources.  There are existing laws that render all of the current vandalism illegal and subject to fines, and possible jail time. Those laws have not been adequately posted or enforced in the past, so the public has been mostly unaware that they were in a Heritage Preserve and what that meant. The property regulations have been clearly posted since October 2021. Our volunteers have picked up litter and pressure washed graffiti off the rock with the approval and assistance of SCDNR.

As of August 2022, SCDNR has been working with the Clemson University Landscape Design Department to develop a master plan to address all of these vulnerabilities. Friends of Bald Rock Heritage Preserve is also part of that process.  We will support SCDNR’s efforts to reclaim the “protect and preserve” part of their commitment to the public and assist them in the implementation of their final plan.

Our focus now is to recruit members to support the restoration of the preserve, including litter and graffiti mitigation. The more members we have, the more successful the solution will be.  We hope you will be with us on this journey. The Preserve is public land, managed by SCDNR, for the safe public enjoyment while protecting the natural resources.  We all have an obligation to protect, preserve, and cherish it for our generations to come.