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Death Valley mystery solved: Officials know who knocked over tower

The National Park Service now knows who knocked over a historic salt tram tower at Death Valley National Park.

The park service announced Thursday that the visitor who was responsible for pulling down the 113-year-old wood tower on April 19 is taking full responsibility for their actions.

“We are grateful to the dozens of people who reached out to the park with information and for all the statements of support that we received from people who care about this place and its cultural resources,” Elizabeth Ibañez, the park’s acting superintendent, said in a press release. “Although we would certainly prefer that this damage hadn’t happened, we are glad that the person who did this ultimately took responsibility for their actions and came forward.”

The person responsible said they pulled over the salt tram tower in an attempt to rescue a vehicle that was stuck in mud, and they did not intend to harm the structure, the park service said.

The tower was part of a 13-mile system used to transport salt from Saline Valley to Owens Valley in California.

The park service said it is assessing the damage and making plans for restoring the tower. And those looking for a do-it-yourself project should look elsewhere.

“While we work to make plans for how to best restore the damage, the park’s cultural resources team urges people to be patient,” the service said, “as repairs done by well-intentioned people who don’t have the proper tools and training can do additional damage.”

Contact Paul Pearson at ppearson@reviewjournal.com.

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