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Release Date: 10/01/09
Contacts: Erin Curtis, 970-244-3097    

BLM Seeking Rock Art Vandals Who Hit Dominguez Canyon


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The Bureau of Land Management is urging members of the public to help them preserve and protect cultural and historic sites in the new Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and Dominguez Canyon Wilderness. This call to stewardship comes after vandals defaced rock art panels in Dominguez Canyon last month.

"The designation of the new NCA and Wilderness is going to draw more people to this spectacular canyon country, and as more people come, it will be even more important that our visitors act as good stewards of our public lands," said Catherine Robertson, manager of the Grand Junction Field Office, where the most recent vandalism occurred. "People need to know that marking up these rock art panels is not just graffiti. It robs the American public of its cultural treasures, spoiling them for future generations and offending the Native Americans who historically called this area their home."

Graffiti on any natural feature detracts from the beauty of the landscape and the character of public lands, Robertson said.

Dominguez Canyon is inside the newly created Dominguez Canyon Wilderness, designated by Congress in March 2009. Robertson said the new NCA designation will provide more resources to the BLM to manage the area and protect the resources within.

"We’ll have the ability to focus more on resource protection through partnerships," she said. "We hope an increased presence will cut down on this kind of destructive activity."

Authorities are investigating whether the stiff fines and penalties of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 would apply should the vandals be caught, or if penalties related to the violation other federal laws would be applied.

Earlier this year, two Montrose men were ordered to pay more than $8,000 in restitution and fines for vandalizing petroglyphs near Gateway in 2007.

The BLM depends on the public to watch for illegal or unsafe practices on public lands and asks you to report incidents to the nearest field office. Law enforcement officials urge citizens who witness such incidents not to approach the individuals involved. Instead, if it’s safe to do so, citizens can take photos or write down license plate or other identifying information that might help officials track them down later.

If you have any information about the most recent acts of vandalism, please contact the Grand Junction Field Office at 970-244-3000.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  2815 H Rd      Grand Junction, CO 81506  

Last updated: 10-01-2009