City councilor introduces plan to protect Petroglyphs National Monument

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A city councilor is pushing to keep the Petroglyphs from being overrun by people. With homes creeping into the area around the national monument and more visitors to the park causing trouble, Councilor Isaac Benton thinks it’s time to come up with a plan.

Spanning for miles along the city’s westside, Ike Eastvold had a major hand in getting the Petroglyphs its national monument status back in 1990.

“This is the only unit in the National Park system out of about 435 that features our country’s vast heritage of prehistoric Indian and historic art,” Eastvold told KRQE News 13.

The monument is a joint agreement between the City of Albuquerque and the National Park Service, and it’s come a long way in the last 27 years.

Unfortunately, over those nearly three decades, the Petroglyphs have seen their fair share of disrespect: graffiti, trash, off-roading and now, homes and roads being built as close to the ancient drawings as possible.

Sure, it’s a beautiful view atop the Petroglyphs looking out over the valley and Sandia Peak, but Eastvold says it comes with a price.

“The sand that has blown over the escarpment from development up top, it hits the dead air space, falls down and begins to bury the Petroglyphs,” he said.

Now, Councilor Benton — who did not respond to KRQE News 13’s requests for comment — has drafted up legislation that would establish a plan for the preservation and protection of the Petroglyphs while reaffirming the agreement between the city and the feds.

The plan would limit access points to the Petroglyphs, including in subdivisions, while boosting security at the monument. It would also figure out ways to increase visitor interest with “low impact.”

It’s a plan Eastvold can get behind. He believes the site could offer great economic benefits for the city of Albuquerque with a little help.

“[This is] a place to learn about another culture that is still using this area, it’s still a living, spiritual landscape,” Eastvold said on the importance of preserving the historical site.

Councilor Benton’s resolution will be discussed at Tuesday night’s Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee meeting at City Hall.

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