Protecting petroglyphs and historic sites

Kanab, UT: Petroglyphs, pictographs, ruins, and artifacts can be one of the most memorable parts of any trip outside. You can’t beat the sense of discovery that can be felt when you find these items off the beaten path. Looking back into history can be fascinating and important for people to understand the cultures that lived in these areas hundred to thousands of years ago. 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.

According to the National Park Service even a small amount of oil on our hands can degrade the patina (color) of the rock, damaging it for future generations. Take a picture, look, but do not touch. 


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 were 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.

Thanks for reading and remember to be Like Bigfoot and Leave No Trace.

Pat and TJ

Leave No Trace’s Patrick and Theresa Beezley are part of the 2015 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Coleman, Hi-Cone, and Smartwool.