Vandalism at Pyramid Lake prompts tribe to limit access

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Vandalism at Pyramid Lake prompts tribe to limit access

Petro

The Pyramid Lake Tribe is considering new policies to secure sacred sites on its reservation land, including the oldest known petroglyphs in North America.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is considering new policies to secure sacred sites on its reservation land north of Reno.

Chairman Elwood Lowery says recent reports of rampant vandalism are not correct, but about a year ago there was some vandalism near the Great Stone Mother rock formations, which is one of tribe's most sacred sites.

"So they closed the road off to make sure the public don't go on that site until we can figure out policy."

Lowery says right now only a handful of people have access to the site and members of other tribes aren't even able to visit some spots on the east side of the lake. He says they'll consider various measures to keep the area secure, for example, only allowing photographers or guided tours.

Earlier this year, the petrogplyhs on the lake's east shore were found to be the oldest in North America, dating back, perhaps, to 15,000 years ago. Since then, Lowery says they've watched them closely.

"We decided, 'hey, we better step up patrol in that neck of the woods, for awhile, just to keep people from defacing the road.' "

The tribe hopes to develop a comprehensive policy for protecting cultural sites within the next four months.