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Rock Art Protection

Rock art sites on federal lands are nationally protected areas. The art is extremely fragile and once damaged, the site can never be repaired to its original condition. Please avoid even touching the rock surface. Surprising as it may seem, the oils in a single handprint can chemically affect the rock surface. Take care so that future generations may marvel at these fragile and beautiful remains of the past. If you happen to come across some rock art in your travels around the Moab area please observe the following precautions:

Site Visiting Etiquette

  • Don’t touch, in any way, the rock art or surfaces around it. The oils in your skin may cause damage to rock art. Don’t apply any substance to the rock art surface, including water or any other fluids. Don’t trace images with sticks, stones, chalk, or other substances.
  • Scratching on rocks causes irreparable damage and is illegal.
  • Don’t attempt to remove graffiti, chalking, lichen, bird droppings, or anything else from rock art.
  • Don’t collect or disturb artifacts or features at a rock art site. It is acceptable to pick up surface artifacts, examine and enjoy them, or make sketches or take photos of them, as long as they’re returned to the place where found, and no damage is done to the artifact.
  • Don’t remove soil to expose subsurface rock art or archeology.
  • Minimize the number of vehicles going to a site. Stay on existing roads and trails. Do not “pioneer” vehicle trails or parking areas. By disturbing rocks, vegetation, or biological soil crusts you may cause unknowing damage to fragile archaeological sites.
  • Don’t camp or build fires within 1/4 mile of a rock art site, even if the landowner or public land manager permits camping.
  • Don’t allow children, pets, or inattentive people to behave carelessly around rock art sites. Kicking up dust or dislodging rocks can cause damage to the site.
  • Please remember that many living people consider these sites sacred.
  • Speak out when needed to prevent damage to rock art. Report new rock art destruction, charcoal near the site, or site vandalism to the Archaeological Resources Protection Act hotline @ 1-800-227-7286.

Recreate Responsibly

Our public lands are very fragile and have taken millions of years to develop. We ask that you recreate responsibly while visiting Moab to respect, protect, and preserve our incredible landscape. Recreating responsibly in Moab will ensure that future generations can have the same incredible experience you are enjoying. Click on the symbol below to learn more.

Recreate Responsibly

Rock Art Damage

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