Rock Art Protected

July 30, 2000

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On July 30, 2000, The Houston Chronicle reported that recent restrictions at Hueco Tanks State Historical Park have left many climbers looking elsewhere. A professor from the University of Texas at El Paso commented that, "As far as rock climbers are concerned, Hueco Tanks has ceased to be a rock climbing destination." The restrictions are to protect the area's rock art. "In September1998, Texas Parks and Wildlife restricted visitors at the 860-acre park, 32 miles east of El Paso, to protect the rock art and sacred American Indian sites on its grounds. Historical preservationists had wanted tighter restrictions to preserve pictographs, some of which have been defaced by graffiti. Arrowheads and spear heads in the park date back 10 millennia. The artwork's spiritual value was so unique to Native Americans that the Texas Historical Commission's first archaeologist, Curtis Tunnell, compared Hueco Tanks to the Sistine Chapel."