Arrest made in national monument vandalism; carving made near William Clark's 1806 signature

Federal officials have apprehended a person they believe carved a set of names into a national monument in Montana where explorer William Clark signed his moniker more than 200 years ago.

The new marking on Pompeys Pillar National Monument is about 3 feet from the signature of Clark, a member of the Corps of Discovery expedition that opened a land route to the West. It reads: "Cole + Shpresa 10/10/2013" and includes a heart.

Bureau of Land Management personnel noticed the carving on the sandstone formation during a walkthrough Oct. 17. Someone had to climb over a railing to make it.

BLM of Montana/Dakotas spokeswoman Melodie Lloyd tells The Billings Gazette ( ) the agency has apprehended a suspect. The investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been filed. Lloyd says defacing a national monument can result in felony charges.

Clark made his inscription July 25, 1806, on his return trip to St. Louis.


Information from: Billings Gazette,