BLM offers reward for information on Shinob Kibe vandalism in Washington County

Graffiti on the Shinob Kibe mesa, Washington County, Utah, March 14, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Shinob Kibe Facebook page, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Bureau of Land Management is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those involved in the the vandalism of public lands located on Shinob Kibe in Washington County.

According to a statement from BLM, the words “Dog Town” were painted in large, white letters on the boulders at the top of Shinob Kibe in mid-March. The Shinob Kibe mesa is an important archaeological site, well-known prominent landmark and a sacred place to local Paiute Indians.

The BLM became aware of the damages through a Facebook post in March. A member of the Shinob Kibe Facebook group discovered the graffiti on March 14 and posted pictures to the page.

Keith Rigtrup, St. George field office manager, said local law enforcement investigated the site of the vandalism thinking it might be connected to high school students in the area but were unable to find any leads.

“Restoring sites after deliberate vandalism is a complex, difficult process, and not always possible. Thoughtless actions such as these impact the public’s ability to enjoy the spectacular scenic values we have here in Washington County,” Rigtrup said in the statement. “The BLM is dedicated to protecting public lands for the enjoyment of future generations.”

A picture of the evidence left after the vandalism on the Shinob Kibe mesa, Washington County, Utah, March 14, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Shinob Kibe Facebook page, St. George News

Members of the public discovered paint rollers and five-gallon paint buckets in the immediate vicinity, Rigtrup told St. George News. He said it is likely more than one person or a “really motivated, industrious individual” because of the amount of paint at the scene.

Rigtrup said the BLM was unable to publicize the incident or offer a reward until both requests were approved, but in a “perfect world” they “would have gotten the word out sooner.”

He said vandalism has not happened often in the time he has been with BLM. Although this vandalism should be taken seriously and does affect Shinob Kibe, Rigtrup said the biggest fear is that vandals will paint over hieroglyphs.

“In this case we were fortunate,” he said. “There’s archaeological sites in the area, but they weren’t painting over Native American archaeological sites. We do have issues with that sort of stuff.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Archaeological Resources Protection Act hotline at 800-227-7286 with any information. Callers may remain anonymous.

Email: rrichardson@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @AvereeRyann

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

 

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