News Release Date: April 17, 2019
Contact: NPS Investigative Services Branch, 202-379-4761
Park officials of Lewis and Clark National Historical park recently discovered unauthorized digging at a listed archeological site near the Netul River Trail within the park. The site was severely damaged and many artifacts are missing. The most severe damage was along the bank of a tidal river where approximately 15 cubic yards of soil was disturbed - the size of one and a half dump trucks. In addition, evidence at the scene indicates that a metal detector was used to locate artifacts and dig nine other holes.
"Archeologists make a great effort to record the context from which artifacts are recovered," said Rachel Stokeld, cultural resource specialist at the park, "to better understand their use and disposition and the wider historical picture. All this important information is now lost because of this illegal excavation."
The impacted area is also home to a rare salt marsh plant association containing Lyngbye's sedge and Pacific silverweed. This plant community is "so uncommon it is classified as imperiled in the state of Oregon," said Carla Cole, a park natural resource program manager.
The National Park Service takes its stewardship responsibilities very seriously. Unauthorized digging at an archeological site is prohibited, as is the possession of metal detectors in national parks unless disassembled and stored in a vehicle. 36 CFR 2.1(a)(7) and ARPA (the Archeological Resource Protection Act) are in place to protect natural, cultural, and archeological resources. When you visit public lands, enjoy them and do no harm.
If you were hiking on the Netul River Trail around before March 20, if you have information that could help investigators identify those responsible for this crime, or if you see looting or other suspicious activity in any National Park Service (NPS) site, stay safe and tell us about it. Talk to any NPS employee for help, or give the Special Agents of the NPS Investigative Services Branch a call. We understand that it may take time to reach areas with cell or internet service. You don’t have to tell us who you are, but please tell us what you know:
CALL or TEXT the ISB Tip Line 888-653-0009
ONLINE www.nps.gov/ISB and click “Submit a Tip”
EMERGENCY dial 9-1-1
ISB: the Investigative Services Branch of the National Park Service
Last updated: April 17, 2019