By Denise Rosch ▪
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Damage was reported this week in Ash Canyon, a popular spot for hiking and climbing.
“It’s really sad, and it’s pretty recent,” says Heather Fisher, President of the non-profit Save Red Rock. “If we don’t conserve this, we have nothing for the future.”
Her group has made safer recreation, advocacy, and conservation top priorities which is why vandalism hits a nerve.
Removal won’t be easy or cheap.
“One panel, if there’s Native American artwork involved, it’s $30,000,” says Fisher. “If not, it’s less expensive, but it’s hard to get off, you have to use chemicals and try not to scrape off the natural desert varnish.”
“It’s just what happens when you have public lands so close to a big urban area,” says John Asselin with the Bureau of Land Management.
He says graffiti is common at Red Rock, but finding or prosecuting those responsible can be tough.
“The challenges of catching people in the act is so difficult because they don’t get out of their cars and do it in the parking lot, they hike a ways back,” he explains. “And we’re covering 3.1 million acres.”
It’s a problem that’s disappointing to hikers.
“The public lands, these are here for all of us, and it’s all of our responsibility to take care of public land,” says George Douds, who is visiting from New Mexico. “When we have people deface that, it makes it hard on the federal agencies, and sometimes what happens in the end, places end up being shut down.”
To report graffiti at Red Rock, or if you have information about an incident, you can contact BLM law enforcement at (702) 293-8932 or (702) 293-8998.
Rewards are offered.
As for Fisher, she says documenting what you see is important.
“One nice thing now, your phones have GPS data on them so they can find the location,” she says.
But never confront a vandal yourself.
With nearly 4 million people expected to visit Red Rock this year alone, protecting it is a group effort.
“It’s priceless, right?” says Fisher. “Thousands and thousands of years, and it just takes minutes to ruin it for everybody.”
For more information, visit friendsredrock.org or saveredrock.com.