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Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado: Our national heritage sites are important and critical to protect because once they are gone, they are gone forever and cannot be replaced.
On June 8, 1906 Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law, which states that any person who should excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity will be fined, imprisoned, or both. However, even with the Antiquities Acts there are still people who circumvent the law and steal or destroy precious artifacts.
Leave No Trace has specific guidelines that coincide with our 7 principles for heritage sites so we can protect the precious resources.
In order to protect the sites, restrain your pets and pack animals when approaching heritage sites. Make sure to keep an eye on young children in the fragile sites as well. Check to make sure if you need a permit to visit a site or if you are required to visit a site with a ranger. The walls of ruins can be stressed easily by people walking on them or climbing on them, be sure to stay off and keep the ruins intact for future generations. Avoid walking on Middens, which are ancient trash dumps that are usually soft dark soil near heritage sites.
Leave artifacts where they are and don’t rearrange them. Altering the artifacts location can change their story for other visitors. Rather then removing artifacts, take a picture of them or sketch them. Heritage sites are considered sacred to Native Americans and the sites should be respected. Graffiti vandalizes the sites and removing it can cause more damage to the site. Please leave your name or initials off of the sites.
Now get out and enjoy some of the amazing cultural historic sites in your own areas. Please protect them for other visitors and pass this information onto others.
Thanks for reading,
Pat and TJ