Hands off the Petroglyph! Etiquette for Visiting a Petroglyph / Pictograph Site



Petroglyphs & Pictographs are fragile, non-renewable cultural resources that, once damaged, can never be replaced.

By remembering and following the rules listed here, you can help preserve these unique and fragile cultural resources that are part of our heritage.

Avoid Touching the Petroglyphs & Pictographs

Look and observe, BUT DO NOT TOUCH! Preserve petroglyphs & pictographs by not touching them in any way. Even a small amount of the oils from our hands can erode petroglyphs & pictographs and destroy the patina (color) of the carved, pecked or painted image.

When climbing among the rocks be careful, you can dislodge loose stones causing damage to the petroglyph & pictograph boulders. Falling rocks may scratch the carved and pecked images causing unintentional damage. Do not re-arrange the rocks or move things from where you find them. The petroglyphs & pictographs are important individually and in relation to each other. To even try and understand a petroglyph or pictograph it needs to be viewed in relation to its environment: including the adjacent image(s), the entire basalt escarpment, and the surrounding landscape. For someone to fully appreciate a site, the glyphs and their surroundings should be left undisturbed.

Do not introduce any foreign substance to enhance the carved, pecked or painted images for photographic or drawing purposes. Altering, defacing, or damaging the petroglyphs is against the law — even if the damage is unintentional.

Re-pecking or re-painting does not restore a petroglyph or pictograph, it destroys the original. DO NOT add your own marks to the images. The introduction of graffiti destroys the petroglyphs & pictographs and is disrespectful to contemporary Native Americans and their ancestors.

Don’t remove the petroglyphs & pictographs! It is against the law to remove items from prehistoric or geologic sites. Such vandalism carries a fine and penalty.