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Pompeys Pillar National Monument
Release Date: 04/07/14
Contacts: Jeff Kitchens, 406-896-5235    
  or Mel Lloyd, 406-896-5260    

Final Resolution in Pompeys Pillar National Monument Vandalism Case

BILLINGS, Mont. – The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged Cole Randall of Plymouth, MN with a misdemeanor for vandalizing the BLM-managed Pompeys Pillar National Monument.  Mr. Randall has accepted responsibility and agreed to pay $1,000 in fines and $3,400 in restitution.  Mr. Randall’s vandalism consisted of a carved inscription of his name and that of another individual on the sandstone wall near the irreplaceable historic signature of Captain William Clark.  

“It is very sad and disheartening that someone would have such little regard for such a historic site,” said Monument Manager Jeff Kitchens.  “We are hopeful that this incident raises public awareness about the negative impacts of vandalism.”

On October 10, 2013, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s department responded to a security alarm that was triggered at Pompeys Pillar National Monument.  A County Sheriff’s Deputy interviewed two suspects the day of the incident, but found nothing out of the ordinary.  It was not until October 17th, while conducting routine maintenance, that BLM personnel discovered the vandalism.  A review of surveillance videos combined with information provided by the Sheriff’s department identified Mr. Randall as the main suspect.

Jonathan Peart, Executive Director of the Friends of Pompeys Pillar, said, “The Friends of Pompeys Pillar have worked for 25 years to preserve and protect this site.  Mr. Randall’s blatant disregard for this national treasure is very disturbing.  We are pleased he has been brought to justice and will suffer the consequences for his actions.”

The BLM is moving forward on restoration efforts of the vandalism.  In May, J. Claire Dean, of Dean and Associates, plans to be on site to begin restoration work.  “We are hopeful that some of the damage to our historic treasure will be fixed,” says Kitchens.  “However, the carving by Mr. Randall was so deep and severe that we are limited in what can be done.”  Reviews of the vandalism indicate that the damage also impacted other, more faded historical signatures, some of which were over 100 years old.

Pompeys Pillar National Monument is part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands and contains the signature of Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  Clark’s inscription is the expedition’s only remaining physical evidence visible of its actual route.  An interpretive center at the site recounts Clark’s journey through the Yellowstone Valley in 1806.  The Pillar overlooks the Yellowstone River about 25 miles east of Billings, Montana. The area is easily accessible from Interstate 94, using exit 23, or from Montana Highway 312. Please visit or call the Billings Field Office at (406) 896-5013 for more information.

The Friends of Pompeys Pillar have worked in cooperation with the BLM since 1991 to preserve and protect Pompeys Pillar.  They provide quality education and interpretive programs, work to improve the historic experience visitors have while visiting the monument, and support an extensive volunteer program, which gives thousands of hours of service to the site annually.  The Friends of Pompeys Pillar manage the gift shop at the monument’s interpretive center.  All income from memberships, donations, and gift shop sales is used to further the Friends of Pompeys Pillar mission and support Pompeys Pillar National Monument.  Please visit or call (406) 969-5380.

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.

Pompeys Pillar National Monument   5001 Southgate Dr.      Billings, Montana 59101  

Last updated: 04-07-2014