Family to pay for Utah rock art vandalism

Tuesday , July 29, 2014 - 4:30 PM

Submitted to the Standard-Examiner

PRICE — The family of two juveniles responsible with defacing ancient rock art in Nine Mile Canyon has agreed to pay for the damage.

In May, Bureau of Land Management Utah Price Field Office law enforcement officers and archaeological staff investigated citizen-reported damage to the Nine Mile Canyon Pregnant Buffalo rock art panel in Carbon County.

The investigation revealed that two juveniles from the Salt Lake City area had carved their initials and the date into the rock face near the panel over Memorial Day weekend.

After careful examination and analysis, the BLM assessed the damage and identified specific mitigation measures. BLM archaeologists estimated that restoration and repair efforts would cost approximately $1,500. A BLM law enforcement officer met with the youths and their family to discuss the seriousness of the incident. The family agreed to pay $1,500, which will be used to mitigate the damage caused by the juveniles' thoughtless vandalism.

One of the youths stated that he was sorry for his thoughtless actions and hoped that others would learn from his mistake. "I hope people try to think about the consequences and the effect their actions have on history," he said.

Cultural resources like rock art are protected under various federal laws and regulations, including the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA). In ARPA, Congress affirmed that cultural and archaeological resources are an irreplaceable part of America's heritage and must be protected. As a result, ARPA prohibits the unauthorized damage to, or excavation and removal, of archaeological resources on federal lands. ARPA also prohibits the unlawful sale, purchase, or exchange of archaeological resources. ARPA violations may result in criminal prosecution or civil penalties based on the cost of restoration and repair.

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