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« Roadside firsts in Michigan | Main | Midwest travel links for May 2011 »

May 31, 2011


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You have copied an error made by a previous reporter into your article.

The Michigan Archaeological Society purchased 240 (NOT 24 acres) acres containing the petroglyphs in 1966, deeding it to the state five years later.

Dominique King

Theresa-Thanks for stopping by. I briefly wondered if the 24-acre figure was a typo when I first found it, but I found that 24-acre figure at several sources. It's entirely possible they could have taken the information from the same article where I originally found it.
I knew, and mentioned elsewhere in my article, that the entire park is 240 acres, but absent finding any source that said the Society bought the entire site in the 1960s (I just looked around again and failed to find anywhere that said they bought the entire 240 acres in the 1960s), I guess it's safest to just say the Society purchased the land that contained the petroglyphs without a specific acreage figure. So, I've gone ahead and made that change.
I appreciate your pointing it out as I always strive for accuracy :)



Perhaps I should have given you the link and information.

Please do not feel obligated to change your post.

"Between 1965 and 1967, the Michigan Archaeological Society (MAS) raised private funds to purchase 240 acres of property surrounding the Petroglyphs. MAS transferred the land to the State of Michigan in 1971."

Found on PDF page 31 of 45 -- from the proposed park plan, which you can find posted at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Park Plan pages, http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10365_31399---,00.html

You will also find a land use order for the park in the proposed plan. There are many links to this, here is one http://www.michigandnr.com/publications/pdfs/NRC/June%2009/04LUOD09_Bay%20City%20RA_SnoMo%20Use_INFO%20ONLY_June.pdf

PDF page 4 of 5

"Sanilac petroglyphs historic state park, prohibited conduct.
(15) A person shall not do any of the following at the Sanilac petroglyphs historic SP:
(a) Enter into the fenced area containing the petroglyph rock when the entry gate is closed.
(b) Walk upon or otherwise come into contact with the petroglyph rock within the fenced area."

Unless there is a suspension of the order, there is to be no contact with the rock. This is fragile sandstone which the DNR has repeatedly stated will come off by touch. By the deed restrictions the DNR has to protect the petroglyphs or the property reverts back to the MAS. No suspension of the order means the DNR is in violation of the deed restrictions by allowing the cleansing.

The 'gentle' cleansing is a recent posting (within the last few weeks) by the Saginaw Chippewa in response to the MAS insisting that the DNR uphold the land use order. Prior to this the cleansing consisted of 4 generations soaking the fragile sandstone with water and abrading it with brooms made from tree branches taken from the nearby forest. (The reference for the 4 generations is in a technical paper, which is why I am not including this here.)

You must have visited the Saginaw Chippewa website to read about the 'gentle' cleansing. The new comments towards preservation are interesting as they do not mesh with past behavior. You can read what not to do at a rock art site here http://www.public.asu.edu/~rexweeks/Ethics.htm You can clearly see from numbers 1, 2, 4, and 6, that the past cleansing conducted is not in line with preservation. Smoke from the feasting fire can be clearly seen in the photos, along with the large logs for firewood. http://www.umich.edu/~ojibwe/community/sanilac/sanilac.html

Dominique King

Theresa-Thanks for the Web citations and explanation. As for making a small change in the name of accuracy (and to not further perpetuate errors), it's part of the obligation I feel to my own readers :)
My main purpose here is to point out the site as an interesting stop for folks traveling in the area, and I hope that, between my article and your comments, people will have a better idea of how to best appreciate it and and to understand more about properly preserving it. Believe it or not, I've seen reviews about the site where visitors complain that debris isn't regularly swept away from the petroglyphs.



I need to offer a correction.

When I said "The 'gentle' cleansing is in response to the MAS insisting that the DNR uphold the land use order." That is my personal opinion, there has been no announcement from any one.

The DNR has been concerned with how best to proceed to protect the carvings and to be inclusive. A structure over them would help to keep debris off.

I hope people do visit the park when it is open.

I have read about your travels and I know that many find your site interesting and informative. Please keep up your good work.

Dominique King

Theresa-I hope people will visit the park, too. The docents did a nice job of showing the petroglyphs to us and giving us some background about them. The trail loop is also a nice one for folks who aren't heavy-duty hikers or who have younger children. Most people I know don't seem to be aware of the park at all.
Thanks for your kind words about Midwest Guest. I especially enjoy writing about places that have a sense of history about them and making people aware of some of the real hidden gems in our region.

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