BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – U.S. Forest Service reported an incident of vandalism to the Track Rock Gap Petroglyphs in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.
Track Rock Gap is the location of a series of historical rock carvings created by Creek and Cherokee people on soapstone boulders almost 1,000 years ago. Visitors to the area can view up to 100 unique carvings and is one of the most “significant rock sites in the Southeastern United States.”
“The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is sad and frustrated to learn that Track Rock had been vandalized. These are special and rare sites. They are special sites for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and for all people as part of the Heritage of this region. Whether through ignorance or malice — the result is irreparable damage to a unique site that connects us directly to the people of the past,” said the Tribal Heritage Preservation Office.
The carvings are open to the public at no charge, but it wasn’t fully studied until 2009 when the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests sponsored the research. For those interested in more details about Track Rock Gap, visit the USDA site.
“The past belongs to all Americans. When looters and vandals destroy archeological and historic sites, part of the Nation’s heritage is lost forever. Sites on public lands are protected by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and other statutes. The Act aims to secure, for the present and future benefit of the American people, the protection of archaeological resources and sites on Federal and tribal lands. These resources are considered an irreplaceable part of the nation’s heritage,” stated the Forest Service.
You Can Help Protect The Past
✔️ Report looting and vandalism to Federal land management authorities or your local sheriff.
✔️ Encourage others to be stewards of the past by your example.
✔️ Treat remains of past cultures with respect.
✔️ Tread lightly when visiting archaeological sites.
✔️ Leave artifacts in place
✔️ Photograph, sketch and enjoy rock art, but do not touch ancient surfaces or designs
✔️ Get involved in preserving the past by volunteering your time and talents. Contact your local land managing agency, archaeological society, or state Historic Preservation office.