Stay off the moki steps

To the editor,

I am writing in regards to the “Gaining a Foothold” segment by Stephen Eginoire. I write as an archaeologist who has been studying this culture and hiking southeast Utah for over 30 years. This segment is sending a very bad message to people, especially ones new to the area. Climbing on moki steps should never be encouraged as it’s very similar to touching rock art, where the oils on our skin will slowly erode them and/or turn them black. Not to mention, it can be very dangerous. Many routes are eroded and one can get stuck very easily. With the increased visitation these places are seeing, the last thing we need is more people thinking this kind of behavior is OK. Educating people on how to visit respectfully, which means refraining from climbing on moki steps, is the only way these places stand a chance.

– Aaron O’Brien, Durango