Vandals destroy ancient rock art in Big Bend National Park


This sort of thing makes me endlessly angry, what kind of egotistical fool ruins works of art on purpose! Big Bend National Park is one of my many “bucket list” destinations and I really hope to make this trip this year. Thanks to vandals, ancient petroglyphs have been destroyed for all of us, and the park authorities are asking for our help in locating these morons.

On December 26, ancient petroglyphs in the Indian Head area of ​​Big Bend National Park were destroyed when vandals chose to boldly scratch their names and date through prehistoric art. Park managers have seen an increase in vandalism and graffiti in the area and are asking anyone with information about these incidents, or those involved, to contact law enforcement in Big Bend National Park.

NPS Photo / Matthew Yarbrough

Our national parks are precious lands and protect our national heritage. Graffiti is vandalism, it is expensive to fix when it can be fixed, in which case it cannot be fixed. Graffiti is also illegal. Damage to park resources is a federal offense, a violation of the 36 Code of Federal Regulations. Rock art as well as ancient cultural sites are also protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.

Big Bend National Park belongs to all of us. Damaging the natural features and rock art destroys the beauty and history the American people want to protect in our parks, ”said Bob Krumenaker, Superintendent of Big Bend National Park. “With each case of vandalism, part of our nation’s heritage is lost forever.

Park archaeologists have documented more than fifty cases of vandalism since 2015 at these priceless sites. If you find vandalized rock art, don’t try to clean it up yourself. Take photos, report it to park staff, and trained staff will attempt to mitigate the damage as quickly as possible, using highly specialized techniques. Big Bend staff have already done what they can in Indian Head, but most of the damage is sadly permanent.

NPS Photo / Jennette Jurado

Anyone with information about these incidents or those involved, please contact the Big Bend National Park Communication Center at 432-477-1187.

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