Jul 272011

By Linda Kor–

The future of Holbrook’s Petroglyph Park, located near the Hidden Cove Golf Course, became clearer July 21 as interested parties gathered to focus on a timeline and a vision of the park.

Those present included several residents, as well as representatives from the chamber of commerce and the city. The meeting was conducted by Joe Winfield, a landscape artist with the National Park Service.

The main objective of the city is to have the park available for tourism, but also to ensure the preservation and maintenance of the park, which contains substantial rock art that is believed to date back thousands of years.

The immediate work being done at the park includes a gate that will limit access to the park until it is ready for public access.

“The gate is to ensure a degree of protection until a plan to protect and manage the park is in place,” stated Winfield, referring to recent defacing of the rock art by unknown persons.

“The gate is just an interim measure, and anyone interested in visiting the site during the day just needs to contact the city for permission and to be let in. We don’t want to seem as if it is being excluded from the public,” he added.

The supplies to build the gate were obtained at the local recycling center, and City Finance Director Randy Sullivan volunteered to weld the gate and have it installed by this week.

Winfield then explained that a survey would need to be conducted regarding the area, and that the first portion of the survey has already been completed.

“The State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for cultural resources principally on state lands and projects, and they conduct three classes of surveys,” stated Winfield.

He explained that the first survey, a literature search, has already been conducted. That survey involved no expense, but included a review of any possible written documentation of the site. In this instance, no documentation was located. The second survey would involve having an archeologist come out to the site to look at and assess specific areas. The third survey would be a detailed assessment of the entire site. The cost of the surveys varies, but Winfield indicated that they would be an important step in preserving the park.

Methods of paying for such a survey were briefly discussed, with the mention of grant funding and perhaps registering the area as an historic site to make grants more accessible.

Sullivan pointed out that one of the main goals is to have the rock art recorded, and that having that done would be separate from a survey. Darlene Brinkerhoff, a local expert in the field of historic and prehistoric rock art, will be taking on that task, although no time frame was discussed.

It was also noted that the park has the potential to be more than a showcase for petroglyphs, and could also include hiking and biking trails, as well as an animal sanctuary for local birds and other wildlife due to the nearby pond.

The immediate vision for the park includes habitat restoration, including the planting of vegetation around waterways, signage providing information on the site and perhaps regulated overnight camping nearby once the park is established.

The next meeting date was not scheduled, but is anticipated to take place some time in September. That date and time will be posted in the paper once it is provided. Individuals who want to donate their time to help with the restoration and clean up of the park are asked to contact Randy Sullivan or Mike O’Dell at the city offices at (928) 524-6225.