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2 visitors captured on video destroying ancient rock formations at Lake Mead


Two visitors to Lake Mead National Recreation Area were filmed destroying ancient rock formations and park rangers are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects.

The video shows two visitors scaling towering russet-colored rock formations along the park’s Redstone Dunes Trail and pushing large slabs of sandstone to the ground. A young girl screams as the stone falls and turns to dust.

The damage to the federally protected formations, formed over time from 140 million-year-old sand dunes, is irreversible. Recreation area spokesman John Haynes called the destruction “appalling.”

“Why the hell would you do that in this beautiful area?” This is one of my favorite places in the park and they are up there destroying it. I don’t understand that,” Haynes told CNN affiliate KVVU.

Sculptural rock formations along the Redstone Dunes Trail provide views of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The video was taken on the evening of April 7, according to KVVU. Park rangers urged anyone who was on the trail at the time or who may have information to submit a report.

The men are suspected of vandalism, the recreation area said in a message posted on social media. If arrested, the suspects could face federal charges, prison time or heavy fines, Haynes told KVVU.

The expansive recreation area covers 1.5 million acres of stunning mountain views, canyon trails and two vital reservoirs that stretch across the Nevada-Arizona border. Water sports at Lake Mead Reservoir are a big draw for the park’s 6 million annual visitors, but an extreme drought in the West has caused the lake’s water level to drop in recent years, exposing sunken boats and several sets of remains humans.

Due to the vast size of the park, visitors play an important role in helping rangers monitor the area. Haynes encouraged visitors to take videos of any unusual activity and report it to park authorities.

“It’s really important that you let us know,” Haynes said.

CNN’s Stephen Watts contributed to this report.

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