Vandals deface Sandia Crest historical rock cabin, trail

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Graffiti plagues the historic Kiwanis Cabin and its accompanying trail high atop the crest of Sandia Peak.

“The whole surrounding is so beautiful, natural and stunning,” Amy Malick said, who KRQE News 13 spoke with at the top of the crest Tuesday morning. “And then to see it marred especially such a unique little building like this, it’s really disappointing.”

It was built in the 30’s as a storm shelter by the Civilian Conservation Corps, decades before the Sandia Peak Tramway took its first riders to the top of the mountain.

Malick is an Albuquerque native who’s visited the Kiwanis Cabin a dozen or so times, she guesses. She says the names, drawings and other scribbles inside the cabin make her feel sick to see.

“One time the inside was practically blackened with so much graffiti,” she said. “It’ll be cleaned occasionally and then it just fills right up again.”

The graffiti can be found on the walls, the ceiling and in the doorway of the cabin.

“It’s a shame that people went in there and spray painted it,” Doug Rowland said, who is visiting from Kansas. “Nobody cares to see their artwork. Go get a canvas if you’d like to paint.”

It’s not just limited to the cabin, either. There’s graffiti on rocks and nature signs on the trail from the Crest House near the radio towers to the cabin.

Still, hikers KRQE News 13 spoke with say it’s at least easy to see past the unsightly vandalism with the gorgeous view from above.

“Absolutely beautiful up here,” Rowland said. “Was worth the hike.”

Officials with the Cibola National Forest say they try to keep up with the graffiti problem, but that the removal process is time-consuming and expensive because it requires special chemicals that don’t hurt the limestone.

They also called it “frustrating” that people continue to do this. They hope to clean up the graffiti again at the end of the summer.

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