I disagree with the decision made by park officials to close off an area of Arches National Park due to “excessive graffiti.” Is this really vandalism? I decided to do some research. Rather than quote from the many articles that are available on the subject through the internet, I urge everyone to look up the following: “Rock Art, Indigenous Images, Historic Inscriptions & Contemporary Graffiti” by Richard A. Rogers. Of everything I read, Mr. Rogers’ article is the most comprehensive and objective. Why do we revere and protect the graffiti of the Anasazi and pioneers? We will all be a part of history in the near future. For example, The National Register of Historic Places recognizes the significance of the inscriptions by Alex Ringhoffer and Denis Julien, which are both in Arches National Park. The Register also lists the inscription by Julien that is in Canyonlands National Park. Other names were added by travelers passing through. As Rogers says, it is natural for people to want to leave their mark, and natural for others to add their’s beside it. One of my friends suggests that perhaps the park service should place an “Inscription Rock” near the Arches welcome center. Let’s take a poll of locals and tourists alike as to whether or not the site near Sand Dune Arch is considered interesting, or offensive, before the park service begins to “mitigate” (deface) the natural sandstone rock wall.

I think I can speak for most of us that we do not like to be kept out of our National Parks or any part of them. Park service time and money can be better spent adding more access to the many spectacular, seldom seen geological formations within Arches besides the famous landmarks. We should be able to spare a few more of the 716,518 acres for additional parking areas, viewpoints, remote campgrounds and more trails, which will help disburse the ever-growing numbers of visitors and possibly even provide those who want it, a solitary personal experience.

Ann Ertel