Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is implementing a voluntary closure of the Descending Sheep Petroglyph Panel and its immediate surrounding area on the Colorado River during the months of January and February 2020. The Descending Sheep Petroglyph Panel is located on the Colorado River about halfway between the Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry. Archaeologists believe the petroglyph panel is between 3,000 and 6,000 years in age.
Glen Canyon is instituting a voluntary closure to implement protective measures against vandalism to the site and the surrounding rock. Vandalism involves any carving and/or scratching into the rock surface. The impacts of vandalism go beyond the rock surface, as all canyon rock holds deep cultural meaning to affiliated Native American Tribes. Out of respect for the park’s resource protection mission and Native American beliefs, all Colorado River users are asked to refrain from visiting the petroglyph panel site during this two-month voluntary closure.
During the voluntary closure period, the park intends to increase visitor education outreach on the negative impacts of vandalism from both a federal resources management and tribal cultural perspective.
According to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Superintendent William Shott, “the two-month voluntary closure is a way to balance the cultural importance of the site and its use by recreationists. We appreciate the opportunity to work together with all interested parties on this important initiative.”
The park hopes that through increased awareness, visitors will choose to respect the National Park Service mission of preservation and protection, as well as Native American cultural beliefs. Visitors can demonstrate respect by not visiting the site during the voluntary closure and treating the site with respect when visiting in the future. To mitigate impacts to river users, the restrooms at the site will still be available.