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April 20, 2009

    Sarah Beckwith

Teamwork Results in Clean-up of BLM Petroglyph Site

Volunteers cleaning up the Oregon Basin petroglyph site.

Volunteers comb the area for trash and make other improvements at a recent clean-up day at the Oregon Basin Petroglyph Site near Cody. (BLM photo by Lisa Marks)

A cooperative effort by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Cody Field Office, the Wyoming Site Stewardship Program (WYSSP), the Absaroka Chapter of the Wyoming Archaeological Society, and Northwest Community College's (NWCC) Introduction to Archaeology class resulted in some much-needed improvements to the Oregon Basin Petroglyph Site near Cody.

The Oregon Basin Petroglyph Site has been subject to vandalism for many years. WYSSP observers discovered vandalism during a site visit in Jan., 2009, prompting the need for the cleanup. Volunteers recently spent a pleasant day picking up garbage, removing debris from modern campfires, and obscuring off highway vehicle tracks. In addition to the clean-up, Dr. Larry Todd, Anthropology Professor at Colorado State University and NWCC, brought his electronic distance measurement total station to create a new site map of the area. The total station provides information on rock art panel location, recent vandalism, and two newly-discovered prehistoric hearths, all at submillimeter accuracy.

The first volunteer to return to the site since the clean-up was happy with the results from the workday. "I was pleased to be a part of the clean-up," said Mike Neville of Cody. "I have visited the site twice since and it gives me a good feeling to see it looking so good."

WYSSP, a joint effort between the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office and BLM, was created to monitor and protect at-risk cultural resources throughout the state. WYSSP trains volunteers and provides them with the necessary tools to protect and preserve Wyoming's cultural heritage.

BLM Archaeologist Kierson Crume hopes to increase awareness of the importance of sites such as the Oregon Basin Petroglyph site. "A greater appreciation for our shared cultural heritage and Wyoming's past will ultimately result in better protection of these sites," Crume said. "Cooperative efforts like this emphasize the importance of working together to care for our public lands."

BLM reminds the public that while viewing and studying petroglyphs is encouraged, defacing or touching them is prohibited. Even oils from your hands can damage the petroglyphs and affect future site dating research.

For more information, please contact the Cody Field Office at 307-578-5900.

The BLM manages more land - 258 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

- BLM -

Last updated: 04-20-2009