UTAH COUNTY – Officials are concerned about Native American rock sites in the Lake Mountain area due to vandalism related to target shooting on rocks near the art.
The Bureau of Land Management Salt Lake Field Office is offering a reward of up to $500 for information that leads to the arrest and/or conviction of those responsible for the vandalism.
According to information from the BLM, the vandalism occurred on BLM-managed lands in the Lake Mountain area east of Utah Lake sometimes between July 25 and July 31. Officials said they received a report of suspected vandalism to one or more cultural sites in a popular target shooting area in Utah County.
The press release stated BLM investigators who followed up found a dozen or more silhouette targets were put up using spray paint on large rocks and rock outcroppings in “close proximity to Native American rock art estimated to be several thousand years old.”
Officials stated it appears those targets are being shot at by individuals using large caliber firearms. They are asking the public not to shoot at the illegal targets. They stated safe target shooting includes the use of paper or other legal targets and a soft, earth hillside for use as a backstop.
Kevin Oliver, District Manager for Bureau of Land Management West Desert District, said they are not opposed to target shooting as long as it’s done correctly.
“We encourage proper shooting," he said. "There is great places to shoot out there with paper targets and dirt backstops, but painting targets on rocks on public land is an illegal, wrong thing to do.”
Painting rocks or damaging cultural resources on public lands is prohibited and shooting into rocks can spark wildfires.
Officials stated: “Native American rock art sites are protected under federal law by the Archaeological Resource Protection Act of 1976. Violators causing damage to cultural resources on federal lands can face severe penalties including fines and/or jail time.”
Oliver said they will be working to remove the paint from the rocks.
Anyone with information about the incident should contact BLM Ranger Randy Griffin at 801-977-4314.