MAUNA KEA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - A criminal investigation has been opened after graffiti was found on portions of the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Resevre.
Officials from the Department of Land and Natural Resources say the graffiti was found mid-morning on Friday.
Photos provided by DLNR from the scene show the words "Stop bombing" spray painted on some rocks.
The president of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou said the method of protest wasn't the correct way to voice concerns.
"The messaging is in support of stopping the bombing, so we don't necessarily have a problem with the messaging, but we have a problem with the method," Kealoha Pisciotta said. "Mauna Kea is a temple, Mauna Kea is a place of worship and a burial ground, and this kind of activity disrespects the realm and importance of Mauna Kea."
The DLNR says additional tagging was found throughout other areas of the Mauna Kea property.
Because the area is considered sacred and historically important, the geological features, including rocks, are protected under the Hawaii Administrative Rules.
"We want people to know we take matters such as these very serious. We will investigate these types of incidences, and we'll prosecute violators to the full extent," Jason Redulla, DLNR Deputy Enforcement Chief said.
Whoever is responsible could face misdemeanor violations, meaning they could spend one year in jail, and face a $1,000 fine, Redulla said.
Anyone with information regarding the graffiti is asked to call Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement Hawaii Branch Office at (808) 933-3460. DOCARE's statewide hotline can all be contacted at 643-3567 (DLNR).