Aug 31, 8:52 AM EDT

Smoky Mountains appealing to visitors not to leave mark


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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) -- Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are asking visitors to refrain from leaving their mark on the park.

Rangers say graffiti detracts from the park's natural beauty and in some cases can permanently damage resources that can't be replaced, such as log structures made from historic wood.

Park rangers and volunteers educate visitors about the results of defacing park resources through education programs, signs and a graffiti-removal program.

The park says last month, five men were arrested at a tunnel near Bryson City, North Carolina, after park property was defaced. People who tag the park can be fined up to $5,000 and spend up to six months in jail.

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