Colorado Springs, Colorado (AP) —Federal public land authorities are investigating after a mountaineering bolt was damaged at an ancient petroglyph site near Moab, Utah.
The bolt line was inserted in the middle of a large rock painting left by the indigenous people over 1,000 years ago.Mountaineer Darin Ray Told Colorado Springs Gazette.. He saw Bolt last week at an outcrop known as the Sunshine Wall north of Arches National Park.
Archaeologist Elizabeth Hora of the Utah State Preservation Department said reporting the damage online caused a storm of anger. Bolt was removed, but Petroglyphs said the damage would last forever.
She said it was painfully common around the states where the ancient Pueblos and Fremont people left their mark. And as more people flocked outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic, vandalism increased over the last year, she said. Still, “We firmly believe in our office that embarrassment and blame are not the way to make a difference.”
Richard Gilbert, a 36-year-old Colorado Springs man, was responsible for an interview with The Gazette. He said he mistaken rock art for graffiti when he placed the bolts that climbers used to secure the clips. When he realized what he had done, he said he had reported to the ranger at the Moab Land Management Office’s field office.
Authorities refused to provide details to the newspaper or to see if Gilbert was behind the damage, calling it an aggressive investigation. Authorities warned people about “harassment and threatening behavior.”
Under the Archaeological Resource Conservation Act, first-time offenders can be fined up to $ 20,000 and sentenced to up to one year in prison.
Gilbert said he would normally wear climbing bolts to help young climbers and people with disabilities. Bolting low-grade routes is generally disliked in climbing circles.
“We made a mistake, but it doesn’t improve it,” Gilbert said. “No. I made a mistake.”