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Montana State Parks Vandalism A Dismal Reminder Crime Is Expensive


Fri Jun 22 00:00:00 MDT 2001

Vandalism in Montana State Parks is an annual drain on budgets and a threat to the historical resources, recreational opportunities and natural wonders Montanans treasure, according to Shelly Hiron, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks TIP-MONT coordinator. "TIP-MONT gives Montanans a way to reduce this crime and protect our State Parks," Hiron said. Repair and replacement costs for damage by vandals can range from $10 to $2-3,000.

"Anyone who sees vandals in our State Parks can call 1-800-TIP-MONT and report the crime immediately," Hiron said. "Our one of a kind historic and cultural sites are particularly vulnerable to vandalism and costly to repair," said Hiron. "Natural features and historical sites are difficult if not sometimes impossible to restore. These resources may be changed forever by vandalism."

Montanans strongest defense against these crimes is the toll free FWP violation hotline -- 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668).

A trained operator asks the questions necessary to get all the facts when someone calls the hotline and the caller can choose to remain anonymous.

"The actual value of Montana's parks can't be measured in dollars," said Doug Monger, FWP parks administrator. "Our parks offer the public access to some of the finest recreational waters in Montana, including the spectacular sites at Flathead Lake, and to historical treasures and priceless artifacts such as those found at sites like Ulm Pishkun and Chief Plenty Coups State Parks. These resources are unique to our state, they aren't available anywhere else."

Last year, a total of $5,800 in rewards went to 10 individuals for tips on fish, wildlife and parks crimes.