To the Editor: Let’s celebrate our petroglyphs

In 2007 while painting petroglyph designs on my backyard fence, I read an article in a magazine about a tourism project. Painted quilt patterns on old tobacco barns were creating a colorful scenic and drivable tourism loop. This was my inspiration.

I decided to create a similar project with a unified theme utilizing our national treasure, the IWV?petroglyphs. We would showcase the designs around town using a variety of materials for the public with signage on Highways 395, 14 and 178 to entice visitors. I brought the idea to Doug Lueck, director of the Ridgecreat Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. We put together a committee, named ourselves the Ridgecrest Rock Art Tour and have been promoting the idea ever since.

We have assisted with chipped boulders in various places around town including the Historic USO Building (which also has petroglyphs in the mural by Scott Sayre, in keeping with our theme) and a chipped boulder at the Health Department. At one point, we presented our rock art project to the Arts Council, which agreed to endorse our art. Later, we assisted with two chipped boulders at City Hall (also by Olaf Doud). The RACVB also put up the ‘Ridgecrest Rocks” billboard on Highway 395 and petroglyph art in front of the office (created and built by Skip Gorman). The museum continues to put up petroglyph art and now-retired Harris Brokke continues as one of our Rock Art Tour committee members.

Our efforts have paid off! Petroglyphs are popping up all over town including street medians, metal art at a car wash and even more in the works, including in the Old Town area. The extension of LeRoy Jackson Park will be named Petroglyph Park and will host various types of rock art (also by Olaf Doud). We even have the mayor dreaming about it! In November Ridgecrest will hold its first Petroglyph-Heritage Festival and Pow Wow. If all goes well, the festival will be an annual event.

A unified theme of rock art will help to beautify this city, will be educational and will boost the economy by bringing in out-of-town revenue year round. The RACVB will offer maps, brochures and signage to direct visitors to all the various sites. Visitors will learn, spend, enjoy and keep coming back.

It will take all of us working together to make this happen. We are asking everyone to help by displaying art for the public, donating and/or volunteering. Please spread the word. Together we can make this happen!

For information call the RACVB at 760-375-8202.

Meris Lueck

Story First Published: 2014-08-06