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BLM, Emery Offer Reward in Buckhorn Vandalism Incident

The United States Bureau of Land Management and Emery County are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals vandalizing the Buckhorn pictograph panel in the San Rafael Swell.

BLM law enforcement discovered the vandalism to the 2,000 to 4,000-year-old rock art panel on July 24.

Below the angel-like, Barrier Canyon style pictographs, symbols representing "I love you Wendy" were written on the rock face with a chalky substance.

The name "Sherrie" was also written in charcoal next to another pictograph.

"This type of disregard for these special places is very disappointing. These sites not only hold sacred value to Native Americans, but they are also enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year," said BLM archaeologist Julie Howard. "We don't view this as a childish prank. Defacing rock art is a serious offense that we investigate thoroughly and prosecute."

Due to the nature of the vandalism, the BLM will bring in leading rock art conservator Constance Silver to remove the graffiti at the site from Aug. 7 to Aug. 8. By quickly remedying the problem, the federal agency hopes to prevent future vandalism at the site.

The latest incident is not the first time the Buckhorn pictograph panel has been vandalized, pointed out the BLM. Less than 10 years ago, graffiti, some of which dated back to pioneer times, covered the panel.

In 1995, Emery County spent more than $100,000 to remove the graffiti and improve the area for Utah's Centennial. The officials also installed interpretive panels, constructed paths and built restrooms to enhance the visitor's experience and protect the site.

Carbon County residents who might have information regarding any vandalism are encouraged to contact the BLM toll-free at 1-800-722-3998.

Reporting parties will remain anonymous, concluded the federal agency.

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