Yuma County petroglyphs get boosted protection
Local archaeological treasures at Sears Point are under better protection these days, thanks to a recent land swap with the Bureau of Land Management.
Sears Point is rich with ancient petroglyphs and also boasts a mesquite bosque along the Gila River floodplain, according to Lori Cook, public affairs director for the BLM's Yuma field office.
"It's really an awesome place," Cook said.
The BLM recently acquired 200 acres of land about 70 miles east of Yuma to be included in the Gila River Cultural Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Such areas are created to protect areas abundant with both cultural and natural resources.
The recently acquired land was formerly managed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The acquisition was made through the use of Land and Water Conservation Funds.
Cook said the land was incorporated into the ACEC because such a designation offers greater protection. She said having protected lands under one umbrella also makes an overall management plan much easier.
Vandalism at Sears Point has always been a concern for BLM officials. Cook said the area is popular for riding off-road vehicles.
"We want people to see their cultural resources, but also we don't want the other aspect of people coming in and stealing from cultural sites," she said. "There's always a problem with vandalism, but most people who go out don't (do that)."