Vandalism Prompts Closure Of Trail At Petroglyph National Monument

Volcanic rocks scattered across the mesa top after being removed from an archeological site/NPS

Efforts to build cairns and deface rock faces along the upper stretch of the Mesa Point Trail at Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico have prompted the park staff to close the uppermost segment of the trail.

Boca Negra Canyon has faced countless incidents of damage and vandalism to cultural resources the National Park Service and the City of Albuquerque are mandated to protect, a park release said. In recent years, ‘cairns’ have become more prevalent in national park sites. Building cairns and moving/removing rocks from their original location can damage archeological and cultural sites. Due to continued vandalism, the uppermost portion of the Mesa Point Trail, including the mesa top, will be closed to the public.

“This is a special place that warrants our protection and car. The National Park Service, along with the City of Albuquerque Open Space staff, are committed to protecting all of the resources within the Monument,” said Superintendent Nancy Hendricks. “At Boca Negra Canyon, we are constantly seeing increased damage from visitors scratching, moving and stacking rock, and from off-trail use.

“These impacts cause long-term and even permanent damage to irreplaceable cultural sites,” she added. “We are closing a portion of the Mesa Point Trail to protect this area. There will continue to be ample opportunities to walk on trails and enjoy the petroglyphs and views at Boca Negra Canyon. We appreciate the community and visitors supporting us to protect this special place.”

The closure of the uppermost trail section and the mesa top takes effect April 29.

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