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.
HIAWASSEE, Ga – Towns County, Ga all fell victim to the country-wide vandalism over the July Fourth weekend. Unidentified individuals scrawled anti-American and anti-law enforcement graffiti down a section of US Hwy. 76.
The graffiti appeared along the side of a building, road signs, power poles, and a retaining wall from Sunnyside Road to Times Past Road. The vandals wrote “Death 2 AmeriKKKa,” “kill all cops,” “ACAB,” and “all fash must die”. Several of these phrases appeared on signs held by rioters in major cities across the county. ACAB translated to “all cops are bastards” or “all cops are bad” depending on who uses the term.
The vandalism took place sometime overnight between July 4 and July 5.
Fetch Your News has reached out to the Towns County Sheriff’s Office for details about the case.
O.C.G.A. § 17-15A-2 defined graffiti as any inscriptions, words, figures, paintings, or other defacements written, drawn, or sprayed without owner authorization by any device capable of scarring a surface.
Anyone arrested for defacing property could be charged with a criminal trespassing misdemeanor if the damage is less than $500.
For greater damage, a person could face first or second degree criminal damage charges. First degree criminal damage includes vandalism to public works structures and malicious intent to harm others. If found guilty, an individual could face up to ten years in prison and fines. Second degree criminal damage must exceed $500 and carries up to five years in prison as well as fines. O.C.G.A. listed both charges as felonies.
Towns County community members, Brett Nash, Brian Caldwell, and Donald Palmer came together on Sunday to remove the graffiti, according to Facebook. These individuals received an outpouring on online support for taking the time to remove the statements.
Towns County wasn’t the only incident of vandalism over the Fourth of July weekend. A group uprooted a statue of Frederick Douglas from its base. Also, the Georgia State Patrol Headquarters experienced an onslaught of rioters who threw fireworks inside the building and defaced the building with “Death to AmeriKKKa.”
FYN will update this story as information becomes available. Images courtesy of Brett Nash’s and Anjelica O’Cobthaigh’s Facebook pages.
If anyone has any information about the incident, please contact law enforcement.