ST. GEORGE – Utah’s unique archaeological and paleontological treasures are being “loved to death” by uninformed visitors and a local conservation group is looking for volunteers to help protect these resources.
Volunteers will be part of “The Petroglyph Patrol,” a local effort in conjunction with a statewide “Respect and Protect” campaign launched by the Bureau of Land Management and Tread Lightly! in May.
The Petroglyph Patrol, a rock art monitoring group sponsored by the Southwest Utah National Conservation Lands Friends, is a part of the local conservation group Conserve Southwest Utah.
The goal is to eliminate looting and vandalism of archaeological, paleontological, and natural resources in Utah by raising public awareness, Crook said.
In May, graffiti was removed from a site in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area for the second time in a year, Susan Crook, Southwest Utah National Conservation Lands Friends director and land program manager for Conserve Southwest Utah, said.
“Graffiti at cultural sites is like graffiti anywhere else. It needs to be removed as soon as possible to let people know it’s not okay to do this,” Crook said in an earlier interview.
“We get reports of new graffiti and other reports of vandalism at rock art sites every time our stewards return from monitoring,” she said.
Petroglyph Patrol volunteers will be taught how to appropriately enjoy Southern Utah’s rock art sites and will establish a presence at popular areas.
Volunteers will be asked to observe visitor behavior and report any problems rather than actively approach people and risk confrontation, Crook said.
The Petroglyph Patrol will minimize site vandalism and damage by being a stewardship presence at rock art sites. Volunteers will help the BLM St. George Field Office monitor rock art at Land Hill and other heritage public use sites on peak visitation days.
Patrol members may also assist with outreach and education at Southwest Utah National Conservation Lands Friends events.
Training for Petroglyph Patrol volunteers is set for Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Meet at the Anasazi Trailhead parking lot, with a hike to the Land Hill Petroglyphs for a field orientation followed by classroom training at the BLM St. George Field Office, 345 East Riverside Drive in St. George.
Volunteers are asked to dress in hiking clothes and bring a small pack with water, lunch and personal hiking essentials.
Several teams of volunteers will be needed for the Labor Day weekend at the Land Hill site, so volunteers are asked to be prepared to sign up if they are available.
Requirements for becoming a Petroglyph Patrol member include:
- Ability to hike up to 2 miles in variable conditions.
- Complete training on policies and procedures at heritage public use sites.
- Be friendly and non-confrontational with visitors when educating them about site visitation etiquette.
- Know when to walk away from tense situations and get help.
- Be willing to work some holidays and weekends.
- Be diligent in tracking and reporting volunteer time and filing incident reports.
- Adhere to Bureau of Land Management policy including non-disclosure of protected site locations and group gathering limitations.
For more information, contact Susan Crook by email.
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