Monday, May 23, 2016

Coyote Hole Rock Art #2 - The BAD - Joshua Tree

As I said in the last post, this amazing site was all but ruined by decades of neglect and abuse. For many years, it has served as an isolated and well used party site by young people from the area. 

It has also been used as a large graffiti canvas, bonfire area, and trash dump. We can't blame it all on the young though. The next to last time I visited, there was ATV tire tracks all over the wash. I was deeply saddened by what I saw. I gathered up all the trash I could carry and left. What I took, barely made a dent. 

Years ago, many rocks were dynamited and used for road bed fill, by a construction crew. Many of those rocks contained petroglyphs!


I first visited this place about 50 years ago when it was pristine (the petroglyphs anyway). The next few times I saw it over the years, it was also pristine. Somewhere in between then and now, that all changed. It has become nothing short of an eyesore. 


What follows are several examples of what I saw there. As you can see, some graffiti had been removed, only to have more painted on top of it. Also, I used DStretch on some of the photos, so you could see old graffiti. There is some good news these days, I'll tell you about that at the end.








































The Good News:
There is a group of people (most of them local) who have taken it upon themselves to protect and champion Coyote Hole. Feel free to follow this link to visit their FB page. "The Friends of Coyote Hole" spend a lot of time restoring, protecting, and educating folks about how important this great place is. Because of them, most if not all of the graffiti in these photos has been removed. No government agency will claim this place (to the point of protecting it), so these fine folks have gone above and beyond, to do it themselves. 

Now, if you don't mind, a little rant...
If I was the current, or past superintendent, archaeologist, or other official at nearby Joshua Tree National Park. I would be embarrassed to admit that I had sat idly by and done nothing, while this ancient cultural treasure was being trashed. To me, it doesn't matter if it isn't within the NP boundaries. It is darn close! They should have been involved! The same thing applies to the local governments.


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42 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad someone is doing something about it. The locals will do a better job than the government anyway. It's a cool spot, so I can see why it draws people in, but I don't get why they'd feel the need to add graffiti. 'We're going into the desert - be sure to pack the spray paint.'

sage said...

It is sad to see so much destruction that has occurred in the American West--which is why so many such sites are "protected" by being kept "secret"

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Heartbreaking. Blessings on those of you who are doing what you can to mend and preserve. And I agree with your rant, sad to think that the NPS is so bureaucratic that they couldn't take care of this treasure just because it is on the other side of a line.

Brian said...

That really is such a shame and we agree with your rant!

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

I have a little area of difficulty . .. a lot of this is ugly, of course . . . and much of it makes me angry . . . but when I am looking around ancient houses and churches and come across places where people have carved their names into windowsills and effigies . . . I can't but be specially amazed when they were scoured into the wood and stone centuries ago. In four hundred years time, visitors may find themselves awed by 21st century scrawlings.

Betsy Adams said...

Very very sad... I just hate seeing stuff like this.. Even when we are hiking in the mountains in our area, we find all kinds of trash around... We carry out what we can --but there's plenty more.. What is wrong with PEOPLE? Gads.
Hugs,
Betsy

Should Fish More said...

No shit, Pat. If anything should irritate one, this is it.
Effin REMF.
Planning my last summer in Montana, if there is a chance you'll get north, let me know.
Cheers,
Mike

Sylvia K said...

Sallie has said it perfectly for me and I do SO agree! I do hope others in the area will help! Thank you, as always, for keeping us informed of the good and the bad and hopefully that will help others become involved.

Kaya said...

Pat, I agree with your rant and I would probably do the same. I also have a hope that people some day ( the sooner the better) will finally awake and will help. Priceless pictures!

Ms. A said...

It's sad how some people don't care about taking care of this place, preserving it and how they like to deface it. Probably do it where they live, too. Gotta leave their mark.

trav4adventures said...

Pat, I have to agree with your rant. Really, when will common sense prevail?

Mandy Southgate said...

I think the term 'rant' has negative connotations but this is more like 'justifiable rage'. This is an important area with artefacts unique not only to the area but to the world! Of course it should be protected.

William Kendall said...

I agree with you.

Completely thoughtless.

Nora said...

I just can't understand why people do this kind of damage. I think it is great that you are now making this public. The more people are aware of this they will have to do something. I read the post below as well and your photos of this extraordinary place are so moving. I am happy that a few people have taken it upon themselves to clean up but it is sad that we have a generation of people who want to trash everything.

James said...

Wow, just wow. People never cease to amaze me. I'm just glad that something is finally being done to protect this place.

VEG said...

Hi P!

They absolutely need people out there patrolling, in my opinion too. One thing I HATE is graffiti, it's so worthless and ugly and destructive. It needs a stiff fine and the perpetrator a night of scrubbing rocks. I now sound like my mom. :) It's true though, it's terrible that history and the beauty of nature mean so little to some people. Even when I was a wayward teen I'd never have pulled crap like this. How can people just not be awed by nature instead of desecrating it? PAH!

NatureFootstep said...

those guys seem to have had some fun. Too bad it destroys old images.

robin andrea said...

I keep trying to type something here that thoughtfully expresses my outrage at such pathetic defacement of something so intrinsically important and aesthetically beautiful. I have no words only sadness for what has been done.

Pat Tillett said...

Alex J. Cavanaugh - Sometimes, the government doesn't even have to do much, besides offering some support, if needed. The folks that feel the need to plaster these places with graffiti and ATV tracks, are nothing short of idiots.

Sage - That is true! However, some government agencies drastically overstate the amount and frequency of vandalism. JTNP for example, doesn't seem to have the staffing to control the few things they do offer up to the public. So, no way are they going to give the public more access.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) - Thanks Sallie! There are some nice people working there, but make no mistake, it is most certainly a bureaucracy.

Brian - Thanks so much Brian! I appreciate that.

Pat Tillett said...

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy - I know exactly what you mean. In this country if it is over 50 years old, it officially become "historic' graffiti!

Betsy Adams - Yes, sad it is. Children need to be educated about these things starting at a very young age. As it is now, they are virtually told nothing. Thanks so much Betsy!

Should Fish More - HA! REMF... I haven't heard that one in quite a while. I have a long time friend who lives in SW Idaho. I've been trying to get up there without success, but now I've got another reason. It just might happen. It would be great to get together with you.

Sylvia K - I hope so also! If it was up to me, I'd probably life in that area. My family threatens is not so keen on the idea. They can't handle anything but mild weather.

DEZMOND said...

young people love to ruin everything, don't they? Methinks spanking should be brought back pronto

Sharon Wagner said...

That is a shame. It must be heart breaking for you, someone who loves the area so much. Thanks so much for catching up on all my posts!

Al said...

It is a shame that people are so destructive, it's the same the world over. At least there are a lot of relatively unspoiled places around there.

Leovi - La FotografĂ­a Efectista Abstracta said...

Certainly, it is really painful to see these graffiti on a site with both cultural value and has been respected for so many years!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

I haven't been to Coyote Hole, but have heard about the graffiti. Really too bad. Just discovering your blog and really like it!

M Pax said...

I hate seeing nature marred. Maybe graffiti is in our blood. The Romans were notorious for it, and obviously our ancestors enjoyed painting on rocks.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, it is sad about the trash and the graffiti. I wonder if the people that do this live like this in their homes, are they sloppy and piggish. I agree with your rant.

Pat Tillett said...

Kaya -Thanks Kaya! This site is not isolated and all this could have easily been avoided.

Ms. A - Yep, very sad. I would venture a guess that almost all of this graffiti was done by people that live within 10-20 miles from it. Maybe even less.

trav4adventures - I'm thinking that "common sense" will NEVER prevail. Thanks Cheryl.

Mandy Southgate - Either way, I needed to get some of it out (yes, there is more). Thanks Mandy.

William Kendall - Thanks William! Total and complete!

Pat Tillett said...

Nora - Thanks so much Nora. I know a couple of things that would help. One would be to educate people (starting in school) about the importance of these places and things. Another would be to make the consequences for damaging, defacing, and stealing from these places much greater. It's barely a slap on the hand currently.

James - I'm with you. Let me add that a lot of people suck!

VEG - Hey there! I think they are doing some of that these days. It would be nice to see some law enforcement types, show up on weekend evenings, or other likely times. I admit that I wasn't the most well behaved person back-in-the-day, but I was taught at an early age, how important places like this were. I would have NEVER have done anything like this.

NatureFootstep - Yep! I'm all for fun, if it's appropriate.

robin andrea - I know exactly what you mean. As hard as it is to believe, there are even much worse things going on at some of these places. Like pot-hunting and grave robbing.

Pat Tillett said...

DEZMOND - I agree and maybe something worse than spanking! How about caning?

Sharon Wagner - Thanks Sharon, it is heart breaking. Catching up was my pleasure!

Al - It is a shame and you are right about people being the same everywhere. There are good and there are bad.

Leovi - Yes, it is painful. It is also painful that some people can be so thoughtless and not give it a second thought.

Spare Parts and Pics - Yep, it's a sad state of affairs. Thanks so much for commenting, I appreciate it.

M Pax - Me too! You are right about people doing it for a long time. "Kilroy was here!"

eileeninmd - Thanks Eileen! I'm betting they have no respect for anything or anybody.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

It never ceases to amaze me how certain people need to leave their mark on anything and everything regardless of the history.. rant away Pat!

Icy BC said...

Glad there is protector of the place now!

I can't imagine why people would go out into nature and then messed it up like that.

Ron said...

Pat, I'm actually surprised to see this happening there. I mean, it's very common to see graffiti when living in a city. I remember when I first moved to NYC back in the mid-70's and witnessed graffiti everywhere (especially in the subways). Amazingly though, NYC has drastically cleaned up its act and removed practically all of the graffiti throughout the city.

Great rant, Pat!

Pat Tillett said...

PerthDailyPhoto - Me too! It amazes, confuses, and infuriates me.

Icy BC - I agree! The authorities also need to involved, because regular citizens can't do what law enforcement can.

Ron - The graffiti here is a bit different. For one thing it's next to a rural town, and most of it is stupid stuff like you'd find carved in a tree. Either way, it sucks. Thanks Ron.

baili said...

50 years ago wow ,that time place would look definitely different in a positive way ,looks great till now inspite of all distractions ,
glad that you realized your responsibility and locals as well,

Pat Tillett said...

baili - Thanks for the comment! I agree with you, but it is hard to ignore the damage.

TexWisGirl said...

it hurts to see the graffiti.

Pat Tillett said...

TexWisGirl - It really does hurt! I'd like to see the people who do it get hurt. Maybe caning would be a good punishment!

Stewart M said...

I kind of suspected what this post would be like -so much for progress!

Cheers (and sorry about the slowness of my visit) - Stewart M - Melbourne

Pat Tillett said...

Stewart M - Yep! At least people are now keeping an eye on it. I also apologize for my absence as well.

Baby Sister said...

Wow. That is really sad. I wish people could grasp the importance places like this have, and treasure them instead of trash them. But how neat that the locals are stepping up and taking over. I'm surprised (and not at the same time) that the government doesn't deem it "worth" their effort.

Pat Tillett said...

Baby Sister - I totally agree with you on all counts. It's really nice to see your comments, thanks!