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Utah launches new campaign to protect archaeological sites

Utah Archaeological site
Bureau of Land Management
Utah Archaeological site

Summer is almost here, and for many Utahns, that means exploring Utah’s unique outdoor sites. However, for Utah State Historic Preservation Office public archaeologist Elizabeth Hora, summer also brings vandalism to important preservations of the past.

“They actually do damage these sites,” Hora said. “They damage them not just archaeologically, which of course I care about, but they damage them as places where people can find connection to the past, which is important to a lot of different descendant groups.”

National Parks Service public affairs specialist Kait Thomas said not all vandalism is intentional.

“Most visitors do the right thing or or want to do the right thing,” Thomas said. “I think a big part of this is just education and getting the word out and letting folks know how they can best protect their parks by making sure that they don't take anything, and they don't leave anything behind.”

To provide this education, Utah launched its Pledge to Protect the Past campaign. The idea is to get people to take a simple pledge to protect Utah’s sites, and then send them information by email for six weeks on how to actually carry out that pledge. Hora said it may be simple, but it’s important.

“These are non-renewable resources. Once an archaeological site is gone, it's gone forever. We can't make any more of it,” Hora said.

Thomas said this campaign will have a lasting impact far beyond the six weeks of emails.

“I always say that we're in the forever business,” Thomas said. “We're here to protect all of our features in perpetuity, so that means for all time.”

You can take the pledge yourself here.

Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.