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Wildcat Glades Vandalism Stirs Some Questions - KOAM TV 7

Wildcat Glades Vandalism Stirs Some Questions

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

    An act of vandalism along the walking trails at Wildcat Park sparked some concerns about what exactly is "graffiti art" and when is it acceptable, among other things.
Chris Pistole, Conservation and Education Coordinator, Wildcat Glades Friends Group: "The graffiti has been an ongoing here in this part of the park for many many years, so the graffiti itself is not something new, however, this tree here behind me, that is something that's been added fairly recently."
Chris Pistole is still surprised about the graffiti on this tree.
But...it's not the only vandalized tree.
Or rock.
Or part of the trail.
And as Pistole mentioned - vandalism isn't something new, it's taken a more serious turn.
However, outcry on social media has had some torn between what is simply "graffiti" and what is "graffiti art" - and even Pistole admits, some of the design on this picnic table, could qualify as art.
So, that's left them figuring out how to combine nature and art.
Pistole: "We're looking for an alternative place where people maybe can do some graffiti, we may leave some of the nicer pieces here on this table, and in the future see if there's not another wall, or man made structure that will be suitable for people to utilize."
Pistole is one of the leaders with the recently formed Wildcat Glades Friends Group which has the mission of assisting the City of Joplin in tending to the trails that the former Audubon Society has left behind.
That task, isn't an easy one - as litter is continuing to pile up as well.
Pistole told us a man that he knows only as "Thomas" has placed these orange trash barrels along the trails, and even comes to empty them out.
And now, with this recent attack on a tree, there are others signing up. 
Pistole: "One positive thing from the Facebook post that we did put out there is we've had a number of people who have contacted us and said 'yes I would like to help monitor the trails and help you to keep them clean, keep them maintained."
Pistole hopes that between the group's efforts, and the city's efforts, they'll be able to keep the trails clean and safe for all visitors.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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