Residents in southwestern Utah are standing watch over some of the area’s most ancient rock art sites. The “Petroglyph Patrol” volunteers will be at various archeological sites on days with heavy visitor traffic to prevent vandalism or looting of these areas.
The patrol effort was organized by the Southwest Utah National Conservation Lands Friends Group.
“People want to leave their mark. So people have a tendency to want to carve their initials, or spray paint, or use marker to put their initials by, or on petroglyphs. Or to say, ‘I’ve been here [on this] date,” said Susan Crook , Group Director.
Crook said the organization received support for the patrol from the Bureau of Land Management.
“We actually have a contract, a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Land Management field office - the St. George field office - to provide volunteers to monitor, protect and help restore some of the resources on our public lands," Crook said.
BLM officials estimate there are more than sixty-five hundred documented archeological sites in Washington County. Archeologists said educating visitors to the area is crucial to protecting the sites.