GOLD BUTTE NATIONAL MONUMENT – Nevada’s newest National Monument is no stranger to vandalism.
Good thing there is dedicated group of trained volunteers organized by Friends of Gold Butte that are eager to do whatever they can to keep Gold Butte pristine and natural.
One previously vandalized area is at White Rock, a pinnacle up at the entrance to Cabin Canyon in the Virgin Mountains. While the sun is setting, White Rock will shine like a beacon and can be seen all the way from the nearby city of Mesquite, NV. You really can’t miss it. In recent years, that boulder and the surrounding area has attracted graffiti.
The paint was thick, but with muscle power and an alcohol based cleaner fittingly called “This Stuff Works” the eleven volunteers were able to remove the vast majority of the graffiti. The event also served as a formal Bureau of Land Management Graffiti Removal training led by Peter Sbraccia of Friends of Red Rock.
“Removing the graffiti now discourages, more graffiti in the future.” says Justin van Wijk, Community Outreach Manager for Friends of Gold Butte, “The vandals could come back, but they will eventually realize that nothing can match the persistence of our trained and dedicated volunteers.”
Though there are occasional signs of vandalism, the vast majority of visitors respect the land. Many of the OHV riders stopped on their way into Cabin Canyon to see what the group was doing. One group of visitors made sure to say thank you to the group once on the way into the canyon and again on the way out.
Gold Butte National Monument is over 297,937 acres of prime Mojave Desert public land. It is rich in human and natural antiquity with 1.7 billion years of geologic history and 12,000 years of human habitation. The entire area of Gold Butte is a traditional Lifeway for the Southern Paiute tribes, the Nuwuvi. If you look carefully you will find many signs of previous inhabitants and travelers including roasting pits, Neolithic scatter, and petroglyphs.
“Writing on rocks is not a new way to communicate,” says Michelle Burkett, a Friends of Gold Butte volunteer attending the Graffiti removal event, “but it would be wrong to equate this spray paint with the petroglyphs. Now we have so many more alternative ways to communicate available to us, cell phones, the internet. We need to respect the ancient ways of doing it.”
If you see anything that you believe to be graffiti do not attempt to remove the suspected graffiti yourself and instead Friends of Gold Butte encourages you to instead contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is an official procedure to follow to ensure that the graffiti is indeed graffiti, and that it is properly removed without further damaging the surrounding area.
For photos and a timelapse video of the clean up project, see https://goo.gl/q36qnr.