Managing Chaos at the Okotoks Erratic.

October 15, 2014. University of Calgary Room ST 141. 7:30pm

Jack Brink, Royal Alberta Museum

The Okotoks Big Rock is a designated provincial historic site that is owned and operated by the Alberta government as a tourist destination. In the past several decades the town of Okotoks has exploded in population, leading to greater public presence at the Big Rock erratics and a sharp increase in vandalism, especially graffiti. In addition to graffiti being unsightly and disrespectful, it threatens the integrity of rock art and red ochre smears that are known to be located on the rocks. Improved photo enhancement has led to discovery of much more rock art at Okotoks than previously known, including in places that have been covered with graffiti. But how to remove graffiti without harming the underlying rock art? This talk explores that question, reports on recent efforts to record the rocks in 3D, reviews graffiti removal episodes and rock art integrity, and considers future directions for management of the troubled Okotoks site.