Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Volunteers strive to protect Santan Mountains park and historic sites

[Source: Candace S. Hughes, Arizona Republic] -- Some local residents are keeping a close eye on San Tan Mountain Regional Park. Under the Arizona State Parks site steward program, about 760 volunteers have been trained to watch over the parks in 27 regions in Arizona. Denise Head, Georgia Peterson, and Alden and Caroline Rosbrook are four of the volunteers who have adopted the park in Pinal County just south of Queen Creek.

Two prehistoric sites and one historic site have been identified inside the park. Part of the volunteers' job is to keep visitors from destroying them any further. "Primarily the mission of the program is to monitor archaeological sites and report vandalism, and to reach out to the public to let others know the importance of leaving the archaeological record in place," said Mary Estes, resource protection specialist with the State Historic Preservation Office of Arizona State Parks. "Sites are special and often sacred places for Native Americans living today."

Volunteers who wish to attend the Phoenix metro area training for new site stewards should contact Mary Estes by e-mail or phone (602-542-7143) for more information and to apply. The training will cover laws protecting archaeological sites, how to monitor sites and report damage, as well as a half day learning from a professional archaeologist how to identify a site.

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