Buildings get tagged with graffiti all the time, but vandals rarely target the rocks at Peggys Cove.

The rocks were painted with graffiti earlier this week and while the paint is mostly gone, the senseless act has left a big impression on those that love Peggys Cove, which sees 500,000 visitors each year.

“You don’t go painting national sites,” says tourist Rick McManas. “You don’t go to John A. MacDonald’s gravestone and put your name on it. You don’t do that. There’s no respect.”

Jonathan Gaul is part of a team of painters who are helping to spruce up the site’s famous lighthouse.

"We know we're good at putting paint on. We are good at taking paint off too," says Gaul.

Gaul and a few others were seconded to the graffiti zone to scrub away the illegal artwork.

“Graffiti is damage at the best of times, whether it’s on buildings or landmarks or rocks in this case,” says RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae.

MacRae says RCMP patrol the area but they can’t monitor the site all the time. That has re-ignited the decades-old debate about Peggys Cove becoming a provincial or national park.

That designation would come with increased funding which would in turn help to provide more security personnel. The RCMP will not comment on the issue, but MacRae does admit the more people looking out for the site, the better.

"The more eyes that are on the street, whether they are provincially-owned, federally-owned or private, if people are on the lookout they can give us a call," says MacRae.

Last year a proposal suggested the lighthouse be made part of the Nova Scotia Museum system, a move that would pave the way for admission fees to help pay for seasonal workers.

For now, Peggys Cove remains status quo and police are asking visitors to use caution and to leave their spray cans at home.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth