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'Jim Morrison Cave' closed due to graffiti, vandalism

File: American rock group The Doors arrive at London Airport in 1968. From left to right: John Densmore, Bobby Krieger, Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek.
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File: American rock group The Doors arrive at London Airport in 1968. From left to right: John Densmore, Bobby Krieger, Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek.

The California Department of Parks and Recreations announced Monday that the Corral Canyon Cave in Malibu will be closed to the public indefinitely, following a surge of vandalism and graffiti.

After people heard that singer Jim Morrison of The Doors had allegedly once been there, the area saw a spike in attendance, district superintendent for the Angeles District of California State Parks Craig Sap said — but Morrison never visited what is now being called the “Jim Morrison Cave,” according to Sap.

https://twitter.com/modernhiker/status/726188146883497984

“In the last several months, it’s been a stream of people. A hundred people a day and even more wanting to go to this location,” he told KPCC. 

Before, graffiti was a manageable issue, Sap said, but after somebody painted the entire interior of the cave pink it’s been an escalating problem for the department.

People visiting the cave started leaving their own additions to the “cave art” and the graffiti has now spread to the surrounding rock along the trail leading up to it.

“Before, it was really a pristine location; now the quarter-mile walk, people are graffitiing on their way there and back and while they’re there,” he said.

Since the increase in public turnout, 10 arrests have been made for felony vandalism. Sap attributes the surge in vandalism to a more accepting attitude towards graffiti art on social media platforms. What was once strictly an issue in urban city areas, he said, has seeped into more remote areas like the cave.

“It’s a creative outlet for them. Unfortunately, it’s a destructive creative outlet,” he said.  

The rocks that people are vandalizing are sandstone — a very absorbent type of rock, which makes it difficult to remove paint — which can take a toll on the department’s budget, Sap said.

Vandalism isn’t the only issue that's stemmed from increased attendance. The location was never suited for large crowds and doesn’t have resources to accommodate that, Sap said — like trash services and toilets.

That's led to a sanitation issue that has not only affected the staff, but could possibly have a detrimental effect on the surrounding wildlife, he said.

Entering the now closed-off area is a misdemeanor offense, and park rangers will be in the area to let people know that entering is prohibited, as well as why, Sap said.

Hiking will still permitted in the surrounding area. Sap said the department will evaluate whether or not to reopen the trail if they can curtail the number of visitors.