One of the tourist attractions of the Four Corners area of New Mexico is a natural arch known as the Cox Canyon Arch or the Anasazi Arch, located just south of the Colorado border 15 miles north of the town of Aztec.
Tyler Jordan, a 31-year-old outdoors enthusiast from nearby Farmington, visits the arch, known as a regional treasure, a handful of times each year.
His visit last month was an unpleasant one when he immediately recognized the site had been vandalized.
"I'm a nature guy," he told the Farmington Daily Times. "That's not something I enjoy seeing."
Along the steep, half-mile trail to the arch, Jordan found pink streamers tied to posts that had been driven into the sandstone as some sort of guide to the arch.
Worse, Jordan saw a rope tied around the arch and a small groove in the arch's sandstone, obviously done by those swinging on the arch.
Jordan thought the site was permanently scarred.
"I think angry was my first feeling about it," Jordan told the Times. "I didn't understand how people could be so ignorant to think that it was a good idea."
Jordan removed the pink streamers but couldn't reach the rope.
Officials of the Bureau of Land Management, on whose land the arch sits, removed the rope and other materials from the site.
"It's annoying as heck," Ed Kotyk, projects manager for the city of Aztec, told the Times. "It just irks me that you get people out there who do those kinds of things."
Ranger J.J. Montgomery of the BLM said it was the first time the arch had ever been vandalized. He called the damage minor.
Doug McKim of the BLM concurred, saying he was hopeful the groove worn into the sandstone would even out with natural erosion.
An official said those caught doing this sort of vandalism would face a Class A misdemeanor and likely be fined $250, though it could be much more depending on the damage. Catching them in the act is difficult, however.
"I think the people who did this probably don't have respect for the outdoors like [outdoors] enthusiasts do," Kotyk told the Times. "One of the things we try to promote on our website is leave no trace behind. That means take out your garbage and show respect for the land."