By Alicia Neaves
FORT DAVIS - If you've driven into Fort Davis down Highway 17, the beautiful mountainous landscape is part of the beauty of the Big Bend region. But some residents have a bone to pick with vandals that are writing their initials all over the side of the mountains.
"I'm sure all who live in this area who were born here and haven't left, they stay because of the natural beauty. Those of us who just got here came because of it. There's enough to vandalize without the mountains. Leave them alone!" said Martha King, owner of St. Gall Mercantile in Fort Davis.
"I don't drive to Kermit or to Odessa or to Ojinaga and go up to somebody's house and spray my initials on the side of their walls. I just don't do it. It annoys me," said Bob Dillard, President of the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce.
Although this has happened before, residents say lately it has gotten worse.
"Someone wants to leave their mark in this area, they can come volunteer and be a part of the community and do something constructive, and it would be a longer lasting memento of their presence here," said Fort Davis resident Steve Merrill.
In the past, kids who were caught spent their entire Saturday cleaning the graffiti with a toothbrush.
Now, Jeff Davis County crews are left to clean up the mess, costing residents money.
"Send a card, write a love letter, take some flowers. Anything but writing on rocks," said Dillard.
The message of the community is simple. If the beauty of the landscape attracts so many, why would anyone want to deface the very thing that keeps them coming back?
"We teach children to be respectful of other people's property and other people's things and this is evidently lessons these people have not learned and that's a shame," said Merrill.