On February 27, 2015, after investigating the Instagram feed of Andre Saraiva, Modern Hiker published the story “Is Mr. Andre Tagging in Joshua Tree?”
On March 3, 2015, Modern Hiker received a letter from Mr. Andre’s lawyer, demanding that we remove the story from the web site. (PDF viewable here).
On March 9, Modern Hiker responded to this letter through the law firm of Levine, Sullivan, Koch & Schulz, LLP. That response follows below. Both legal documents have been altered to remove individual contact information. (PDF viewable here).
Modern Hiker has no intention of removing our original story. We believe the reporting is solid and the facts speak for themselves.
We feel very strongly about the issue of graffiti and vandalism in our natural spaces, whether they be in National Parks or neighborhood green spaces. While we understand you likely share many of our feelings and frustrations about these issues in general and in this instance in particular, this case’s outcome now rests in the capable hands of our National Park Service investigators.
We do not wish to encourage nor do we condone in any way any harassment of Mr. Saraiva, and believe the most constructive things we can do at this point are to encourage and support the Park Service with their investigation, to donate our time and energy to local cleanup and volunteer projects, and to push Congress to fully fund our National Parks, Forests, and Monuments to effectively enforce vandalism violations and prevent them from happening in the first place.
As I posted in the original story, people are welcome to comment here or on other forums to give their points of view.
If there are any further updates, we will share them with you as soon as possible.