White Mountain Petroglyphs
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The White Mountain Petroglyphs site is a part of a cultural area significant to four separate Native American Tribes. The site contains a series of rock art panels that are more than 200 years old. Touching the rock art, or taking pieces of rock home can damage the site for others. Visitors are asked to respect the site and take only pictures while leaving only footprints. The marked location is a parking lot. Access from the parking area is a steep walking path 2/3 mile long. Hikers are encouraged and ADA accommodations can be made by contacting the BLM field office.
Backstory and Context
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The White Mountain Petroglyphs are a series of stone carvings done between 200 and 1,000 years ago. The exact nature of the rock art images are not known but elders from the Shoshoni and Ute tribes have noted the site is still considered sacred. The site receives approximately 12,000 visitors every year. The site is now managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
In 1889 the BLM released a poster of an iconic piece of rock art from the site, with a warning informing visitors that the pieces were fragile saying "when they're gone...they're gone forever!" The poster ultimately turned prophetic when in the summer of 1992 the pictured rock art was destroyed. A BLM investigation resulted in a local reporting that an out of town guest had tripped, and pulled down the rock art. No charges were ultimately filed. The destroyed rock art was added to the collection of the Sweetwater County Historical Museum. The pieces were part of a display at the museum that attempts to recreate the piece. Pieces of the destroyed art work are placed on an image of the rock art before it was destroyed. Museum displays change frequently please contact the museum before attempting to visit any particular exhibit or artifact.
White Mountain Petroglyphs, Bureau of Land Management. Accessed April 22nd 2020. https://www.blm.gov/visit/white-mountain-petroglyphs.
Sweetwater County Historical Museum