2 people caught on camera committing alleged archaeological theft at historic 1800s cowboy camp at Utah national park


Nature: Canyonlands National Park


Nature: Canyonlands National Park

02:39

National park rangers are seeking assistance in identifying at least two people who were caught on camera apparently committing an “archaeological theft” at Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Trail cameras captured the March 23 incident at the park’s historic cowboy camp.

Photos from the alleged theft show two individuals – a man with a beard in a red sweatshirt, red baseball cap and sunglasses and a blonde woman in patterned shorts, a light sweatshirt, a hat and sunglasses – entering an area that the National Park Service said was “signed-as-closed.” One of the released photos shows the man holding up an object at the closed site, which was located in the Needles district of the park in Moab, Utah. 

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A man and a woman were caught on camera entering a closed off area at Canyonlands National Park in Utah and touching historic objects. 

National Park Service


“In a video recorded at the archaeological site, the individuals entered a signed-as-closed area, removed artifacts from a cabinet, and handled historic harnesses in a manner that had potential to damage them,” the NPS said. “Information from visitors is very helpful to investigators.” 

The alleged incident took place at about 5:30 p.m. at the Cave Spring Cowboy Camp, a historic site that cattlemen are believed to have used from the late 1800s through 1975, when the park service says cattle ranching ended in the park. Cowboys are believed to have established this particular camp due to it having g reliable water source. 

“Many original items left by the cowboys remain,” a website for the camp says. “Please do not enter the camp, touch, or remove the objects.”

Canyonlands is Utah’s largest national park, according to the NPS, and is comprised of three districts: Island in the Sky, The Maze and The Needles, where the incident took place. 



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