Mesa Verde National Park is one of the rare national parks that not only preserve nature, but also preserve ancient cultures. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mesa Verde protects over 5,000 archeological sites while offering an intimate look into the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived in the southwest Colorado region.
In 2016, over 583,000 people visited the national park. Unfortunately, some visitors this year have decided to vandalize these ancient relics. Mesa Verde National Park used Facebook last Friday to highlight some of these recent atrocities and to educate the public on preventing these actions from occurring in the future.
In seven photos posted to Facebook, Mesa Verde National Park goes through an array of incidents and the repercussions of each. In many cases, not only are natural features like rocks and cliffsides ruined, but cultural artifacts as well.
As posted on Facebook, “As the summer progresses and visitation increases, we are seeing more and more evidence of graffiti, vandalization and intentional littering throughout Mesa Verde National Park.”
There were instances of names being rubbed onto sandstone using prehistoric charcoal, which was actually dug up in an archaeological site by the vandals themselves. Other instances include painting rocks for social media scavenger hunts, carving into prehistoric grinding slicks, etching into sandstone and stacking rocks along trails that confuse hikers as to where the trail actually is.
The post also says how we all need to chip in as visitors to keep these abominations from happening. They posed some extremely relevant questions regarding the rise in vandalism within national parks:
“Despite the fact that this is the mission and purpose of the National Park Service, we are seeing a growing number of instances of intentional damage throughout NPS sites every year. Why do you think people do this? What do you think the intent is and what can we do as a culture to cut down on these occurrences?”
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