JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK (AP) — Conservators have restored a popular hiking spot in Joshua Tree National Park that became riddled with graffiti.

Barker Dam was put off limits several years ago after vandals carved their names into the cement of the historic landmark, built by Old West ranchers for water storage.

Park officials said the graffiti started with just a few markings, but quickly spread.

For the last 1 ½ years, a team of conservators painstakingly painted over the graffiti to restore the original look of the 19-foot-high dam.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports the project cost $46,000, while conservators donated $33,000 in work hours to carry it out.

Jay Theuer, the park’s chief of cultural resources, said officials plan to post signs and add volunteers to increase visitors’ awareness of the graffiti problem.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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