Utah Rock Art Research Association


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Request for help protecting rock art from target shooting on Lake Mountain
Diana Acerson

Government HOLDs 2016 APPROVED Closure to Target Shooting to PROTECT ROCK ART at Lake Mountain, Utah County


An Amendment to the Resource Management Plan for Lake Mountain was approved in December of 2016 by the Utah BLM State Director, West Desert District, and Salt Lake Field offices of the BLM whose jurisdiction it is in, and still it has not been Implemented. 

We are many years past due in getting the target shooting moved out of the area to protect the rock art unique to, and within a certain area of Lake Mountain, from continued destruction by shooters who are either ignorant of the rock art being there, or who are arrogant and just enjoy the convenience of the location and don’t care about anything on the land including trees, animals, rocks, or anything else in the natural landscape.

We have been hearing repeatedly this past year the approval for implementation of the closure has been sitting on a desk in Washington D.C..  It appears it’s become a political issue with no one with the ability or authority to issue a directive to implement the closure.  This rock art is located in Utah, not Washington, D.C..  The BLM Utah State Director should have the authority to implement the closure.

Our major concern continues to be the on-going destruction of the petroglyphs, which are eligible for protection under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.   The target shooting is resulting in the elimination of this ancient pre-historic rock art which is unique to the surrounding Utah Lake area. Archaeological studies have indicated this rock art is most likely the oldest rock art in the State of Utah and possibly the western United States. 

Rock Art is now the State of Utah’s State Art, and should be immediately protected from this target shooting threat. 

It was a four-year process to get the Amendment completed and finally approved in December, 2016.  All parties involved in the approval process signed the Amendment. Now we continue to wait, over a year later, for implementation of the closure.  In the meantime, petroglyphs are threatened or destroyed daily, especially on holiday’s and weekends. This past 2017 holiday season exposed the petroglyphs to increased target shooting activity including exploding targets and semi-automatic weapons, which are shooting thousands of rounds each weekend at this location.  New photos show the land bare in many additional areas where targets were set up and shooting was excessive. 

Some local residents have showed concern for their children who are scared to go outside because they hear the shooting close by.  The threat of wild fires from irresponsible target shooting as evidenced by several that took place this last year is costing the BLM several thousand dollars that could have been spent on implementing protective measures to the area.

With the concern about the destruction of the petroglyphs, public safety, wildfires, and property damage, the exclusive use of these public lands by target shooters has to end.  Target shooting has eliminated the ability for the public at large, including shooters, to safely be in the area enjoying other land use activities.  

We have sent letters to the BLM, Congresswoman Mia Love, who’s jurisdiction it’s in, Utah’s legislators, Utah County, State Historical Preservation Officer, federal land managers, to support immediate actions that could be taken by the State BLM office, the West Desert District office, and Salt Lake Field office in the interim to protect the rock art while we wait for the implementation of the closure.  It appears nothing is currently being done by the BLM to inform and/or enforce respect of the public lands at Lake Mountain.  Signs are not sufficient, having been shot at, torn down, or are unreadable from vandalism. Target trash left behind is excessive and ongoing.  Land Managers need to be out there educating these shooters, issuing citations, enforcing trash pickup, and making it safe for others to enjoy the land. 

We will continue to address the Utah County Commission on the urgency to proceed with the shooting range to insure a place for the target shooters to go.  We are not against target shooting, we are just trying to protect the rock art.

And URARA will continue to encourage the immediate protection of the rock art and hope that those who do have authority to get this closure implemented will do so without further delay, so we need your support for this effort.    Please write to the individuals listed below and show your support for saving these ancient petroglyphs.        

1.) Congresswoman Mia Love, 4th Congressional District.

Web site address:  www.love.house.gov

Local address: 
9067 South, 1300 West, Suite 101, West Jordan, UT, 84088

Local staff contact: 
Barry McLerran, e-mail: Barry.McLerran@mail.house.gov

Local fax number:       801-987-8631

Local phone number: 801-996-8729


2.) Senator Orrin Hatch

Web site address: www.hatch.senate.gov

Local address:
51 South University Avenue, Suite 320, Provo, UT, 84601

Local staff contact:
Matt Hurst, e-mail: matt_hurst@hatch.senate.gov

Local fax number: none listed.
Washington fax number.:  

Local phone number:         801-375-7881


3.) Senator Mike Lee

Web site address: www.lee.senate.gov

Local address:
125 South State Street, Suite 4225, Salt Lake City, UT, 84138

Local staff contact:
Ian Nemelka, e-mail: ian_nemelka@lee.senate.gov

Local fax number:       801-524-5730

Local phone number: 801-524-5933                                                                                   

We thank you for helping us get the rock art at Lake Mountain protected. In so doing, protecting the area for other land use activities.

P.O. Box 511324, Salt Lake City, Utah 84151-1324 

URARA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization

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