New Petroglyph Pact Better Protects Monument
National Park Standards and Management Extended to City-Owned Lands
Albuquerque — A new five-year Cooperative Management Agreement governing the Petroglyph National Monument between the National Park Service (NPS) and the City of Albuquerque better protects its irreplaceable rock art, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) which has pushed for these strengthened safeguards. For the first time, the new agreement assures consistent management and enforcement of NPS standards throughout the Monument, two-thirds of which is on city-owned land.
Previously, the City of Albuquerque refused to allow NPS rangers to patrol or enforce Park Service rules on City lands. But the new agreement, which was finalized on May 24, 2013, stipulates that NPS –
- Rangers may enforce federal resource standards throughout the Monument, even on city-owned lands;
- Will handle all research and other special use permits as well as visitor services. In addition, the NPS superintendent will maintain a publicly available compendium of use policies. The agreement provides that “The City hereby consents to the NPS’ cooperative administration of City-owned lands…”; and
- Provide common maps of boundaries, gates, roads, electric facilities and even locations of “possible unexploded ordnance.”
“It is fair to say that the Park Service and the City of Albuquerque are finally on the same page with respect to managing Petroglyph,” said Daniel Patterson, Southwest Director of PEER, which has pressed both sides to adopt these changes in the new agreement. “While PEER has never shied away from criticizing the Park Service when we thought it appropriate, we do not hesitate to praise the agency when it gets things right.”
For its part, the City of Albuquerque will take the lead on fire response and emergency medical services. Both entities pledge to assist the other, and seek joint training and maximum coordination.
Surrounded by an urban area, the Monument is vulnerable to scars from graffiti and off-roading as well as illegal dumping. In addition, its ancient 22,000 petroglyphs and rock art have been increasingly targeted by thieves and vandals. Nothing in the agreement, however, guarantees that trash dumps at the head of Piedras Marcadas Canyon will be removed or that egregious motocross scarring in the Northern Geological Window will be remedied, or that decades-old accumulations of matted tumbleweeds impeding visitor access and posing a potentially explosive fire hazard will be cleaned up.
“Now the hard work of healing Petroglyph should move forward,” Patterson added. “PEER will be following closely the process of actually improving conditions on the ground.” Meanwhile, the group is decommissioning its on-line petition urging that Petroglyph be managed up to national standards.