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U.S. actress pays $1,000 fine for carving names into Arizona rock

Hudgens, who achieved fame with her performance as Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical TV movies, agreed last month to pay a $1,000 penalty for carving a heart into a protected red rock wall on federal land in Sedona, Arizona, according to the Associated Press.

Hudgens got busted after she posted a photo of the carving, which included the names “Vanessa” and “Austin” on her Instagram page around Valentine’s Day, along with other photos of the couple and of the towering red rocks popular with tourists in northern Arizona, the AP said.

The agreement, which resolved a citation issued to Hudgens for damaging a natural feature on U.S. Forest Service land, was approved by a federal magistrate on April 19 but was not made public at that time.

The $1,000 was used by a nonprofit group, Friends of the Forest, to restore the rock wall.

A publicist for Hudgens did not respond to a request for comment, the AP said.

According to court documents obtained by the AP through a records request, Hudgens admitted using a rock to scratch the names inside the 1-foot by 1-foot heart, which was found in February on a geologic formation called Bell Rock.

Coconino National Forest spokesman Brady Smith said authorities were alerted to the carving by Hudgens’ followers on Instagram who saw the Instagram postings.

The photo of the carving was removed from her page.

“She was caught in the act because she publicized it and she’s famous,” Smith said.

“I’m sure there are others who are not famous and publicized it and we’ve never known,” he said.

Smith said such carvings disturb the area’s natural beauty of the area and give the impression that members of the public are allowed to deface rock walls, even though damaging a natural feature is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Jennifer Young of Friends of the Forest said a dozen volunteers respond to reports of vandalism in the Red Rock Ranger District every other week and use wire brushes, sandpaper and a specialized drill to clean them up.

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