It is an icon that most Utahns know or have at least heard about. Suicide Rock rises majestically out of the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, and is covered in paint and graffiti.
Myth surrounds the painted rock. According to legend, a Native-American maiden stood upon the sheer cliff waiting for her beloved brave to return from battle. When she learned of his death she leapt to her death.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s it stood sentry over the old Parley’s Canyon Reservoir, until it was drained at the beginning of the 20th century. It has been tagged, painted, and sprayed for years and years by graffiti artist, teenage lovers, and fraternity pledges.
For many, the graffiti is harmless, even entertaining, but if you look below the surface you will see what amounts to a modern day tragedy. At the base of the rock are hundreds and hundreds of discarded paint cans and other garbage thrown without care any and everywhere around Suicide Rock.
There are cans in the grass, cans floating in the creek, even cans dangling from the trees. Take a trip off of the Bonneville Shoreline trail and you find empty 5 and 10 gallon paint cans, the twisted remains of an old bike drifting in Parley’s Creek, and where the creek flows the heaviest an abandoned shopping cart blocks the water.
I wonder how many, if any, bags of garbage and empty spray paint cans Chris Johnson (the KUTV reporter) and the rest of the remote crew hauled away after they finished the story … or do you suppose they just threw it all back down on the ground for the rest of us to clean up?