Nevada city joins effort to protect petroglyphs

Spark, Nevada (AP) 12-09

The city of Sparks, Nevada has joined a cooperative agreement to protect an obscure, rocky site featuring more than 200 panels of American Indian petroglyphs.

The City Council unanimously voted Monday to join the protection effort for the Court of Antiquity with Washoe County and the Nevada Department of Transportation. Local, county and state governmental agencies, under the guidance of the Nevada Rock Art Foundation, are trying to acquire the site along Interstate 80 from the transportation department and develop a master plan for it.

It is owned by the transportation department because the site is just below the freeway.

Sparks officials say the nearly four-acre site, which is about three miles east of the city, has significance as a central meeting and fishing site for American Indian tribes. The cluster of etched rock panels sits between the interstate and the Truckee River.

“The site is really phenomenal. Most people in the region don’t realize it is there, but hopefully ... that will change,” Sparks Parks and Recreation Director Stan Sherer said.

The purpose of the agreement is to enable the Nevada Rock Art Foundation to solicit funds for development of the site, he added.

The nonprofit Reno-based foundation is working to better understand the origin of the petroglyphs dating back generations.

According to research from The American Guides Project, present-day American Indians are not familiar with the petroglyphs’ meanings.