Piece of New Mexico history destroyed by vandals, revived by volunteers

S wall between C2 & C3

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Sandia Man Cave near Albuquerque, which bears petroglyphs and evidence of mammoths, has turned into a place frequented by taggers.

“When you have folks that are coming up and leaving trash and leaving water bottles, clothing and material in the cave that shouldn’t be here, it’s not good,” said Kevin Lorms, Chairman of Sandia Grotto.

There is a lot of history being hidden there by layer after layer of spray paint.  The years of vandalism are slowly being wiped away by people who care including members of the cave group, the Sandia Grotto. They have been working nonstop over the last few weeks.

There are petroglyphs still there and ancient hand prints which are faded and covered. Using a special photography process, the team has found and marked them, making sure, as they erase paint, they’re not erasing history.

”There’s plenty of fossils and coral and croinoids and those kind of things,” said Lorms. “The debate is, do we gate this, do we gate the cave and keep people out of it? It’s this close to Albuquerque everyone should come see it.”

“The national speleological society has a motto, it says ‘you take only pictures, you leave only footprints and you kill only time'” said Lorms.

The cave sits above Los Huertas Canyon, half an hour from Albuquerque.

“In here you can see a lot of the formations in the cave and how it was done and there’s plenty of fossils and things that you can see in the wall,” said Lorms.

They date back from 10,000 years and possibly as far as 25,000 years. It was all discovered back in the 1920’s and 30’s.

“They found a lot of bones, of tools, of scrapers, of artifacts, that would lead them to believe this was visited many times,” said Lorms.

The cave has been closed for the cleanup. It should reopen next week.

To see more pictures of the Sandia Man Cave Cleanup click here»

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