New State Parks Director Defaced Historic Adobe Wall in '99

Renee Bahl, the new executive director of the Arizona State Parks Board, carved her name 10 years ago in a historic adobe wall at the San Rafael Ranch in Santa Cruz County. And that doesn't sit well with one state legislator who says the act should have kept her from being selected by the seven-member Board.

"Bahl should be fully questioned about her vandalism of state historic properties, and rejected as a poor choice for this important job," Tucson Democrat Daniel Patterson wrote Wednesday on his blog. "Someone as clueless as Bahl on protecting state treasures is clearly not appropriate to head State Parks."

Ironically, Bahl, 40, oversaw historic preservation at the ranch while working as an assistant parks director. She apparently thought her name ought to be preserved, too.

Bahl is no dummy -- her recent work as director of parks and recreation for San Diego County was touted by the man who led the selection committee. But her ethical judgment stinks -- not to mention the fact that she should have known she'd get caught.

If you see Bahl touring any of our treasured state parks, do a favor for Arizona history -- keep an eye on her.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.