A hiker recreating at a nearby swimming hole recently discovered a giant message reading “Black Lives Matter” spanning the length of the Camp Nine Bridge.

The bridge, which straddles the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River, southeast of Vallecito, is owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and utilized by the company to access hydropower facilities in the area, though it is open for public use.

The company learned of the graffiti on Wednesday and has no plans to remove the paint or file a complaint with law enforcement, PG&E regional spokesperson Brandi Merlo told the Enterprise.

Columbia, Calif. resident and photographer Aaron James said the bright yellow paint was dry and there were no paint cans left on the bridge when he stumbled across the graffiti on Tuesday.

“I couldn’t resist getting my drone up in the air to snap some shots of it,” James told the Enterprise.

He said the size and style of the lettering reminded him of the now-famous “Black Lives Matter” message painted by city workers on a busy Washington D.C. street on Friday.

“I thought whoever did it must really care about the cause,” James said.

James shared his images on social media, generating mixed responses from the public.

The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office reported that multiple calls have been received about the graffiti, though no formal complaints have been filed.

On Friday and Saturday, two peaceful Black Lives Matters protests occurred nearby in Angels Camp, at the intersection of Highways 4 and 49.

It is undetermined when the message on the Camp Nine Bridge was painted or who painted it.


Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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