A 20-year-old Bullhead City man suspected of vandalizing petroglyphs at Grapevine Canyon in Lake Mead National Recreation Area was cited by park rangers. He and a 13-year-old boy were reported to have been shooting paintballs in the area.
At least four petroglyph panels and numerous rock faces were defaced with paint. The National Park Service is coordinating the cleanup with area tribes using a soap and water solution, according to Andrew Muñoz, spokesman for NPS. Unfortunately, due to the composition of the paintballs, while the pigments can be removed, often an oil stain will remain.
“We’ll have to decide whether getting rid of the oil stain is worth doing more damage,” Muñoz said.
“This area in particular is incredibly sensitive and sacred to the Native American tribes of the Lower Colorado River. It’s unimaginable to think of someone having a paintball fight in the Sistine Chapel; however, from the perspective of local tribal members, that’s what happened here,” said Rosie Pepito, chief of cultural resource management for Lake Mead NRA. According to the NPS Web site, the petroglyphs in Grapevine Canyon were created during a time period that spans from 150-200 years ago to as far back as more than 800 years ago.