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Vanessa Hudgens Faces $5,000 Fine for National Park Vandalism

A resolution may be near on the star Vanessa Hudgens’ red rock carving case. The actress and her boyfriend, Austin Butler, expressed their love by carving their names into a heart on a red rock in a federally protected national forest in Arizona on Valentine’s day. According to Billboard, the actress was recently contacted by the US Attorney’s office in Flagstaff and is now weighing her legal options.

Vandalism in National Parks

Hudgens has reportedly been offered a deal -- she can pay a $5,000 fine. Or if she declines the offer, she can go to court to face misdemeanor charges for defacing the red rock.

The star has reportedly been cooperative with authorities, which is smart considering the foolish way she got caught for this crime. In the deliciously ironic way of our times, she publicized her mischief on Instagram, thus drawing the attention of authorities.

Hudgens is not the first person to document her crime on social media, or even the first person to post her national park graffiti for the world to see on Instagram. In 2014, graffiti artist Casey Nocket -- handle Creepytings -- defaced 10 national parks with her paintings.

According to the US Department of Agriculture's National Forest Service, the Coconino National Forest is one of the most diverse in the country "with landscapes ranging from the famous red rocks of Sedona to Ponderosa pine forests, from southwestern desert to alpine tundra." The park contains mountains and canyons, lakes, creeks, and streams.

Hudgens has reportedly been charged with "misdemeanor violations of defacing and/or damaging natural features" of the park. The rocks that she marked with her heart contain iron and their romantic red hue is the result of rusting.

Paying the Fine?

But despite her affinity for these natural formations, it is unlikely that Hudgens will choose to rust in a jail cell for six months. That's the maximum penalty for her crime, according to Billboard, which contacted National Parks authorities about the matter.

It seems likely then that the 27-year-old actress, best known for her role as Gabriella Montez in the TV show and movie "High School Musical," will pay the fine of $5,000. Really, it's a small price to pay for love and publicity.

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