Idaho’s most well-known petroglyph panel will become Canyon County’s newest park
The Canyon County Board of Commissioners announced that the county has obtained the historic Map Rock, a 34-acre site approximately six miles from Highway 45 on Map Rock Road.
The acquisition was made possible from a land trade with Farm Development Corporation, officials said. The Canyon County Parks, Recreation and Waterways Department will now have the opportunity to develop educational programs and site improvements to allow families, scouts and other visitors to enjoy one of the most well-known petroglyph panels in Idaho.
“Canyon County is looking forward to working with Idaho’s Indian Tribes and the State Historic Preservation Officer to protect this historic resource and educational opportunity,” said Tom Bicak, Director of Canyon County Parks, Recreation & Waterways.
Map Rock, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the most well-known petroglyph panel in Idaho, officials said. Petroglyphs are images carved, pecked or incised into stone, and a group of petroglyphs on the same stone is a panel. ‘Map Rock’ is a large basaltic spall on the Snake River that supports a great array of petroglyphic elements on its south, east and top faces. These elements are lines, geometric and organic figures, dots, animal and human forms in varying degrees of realistic depiction. It is commonly believed that the petroglyphs were created by Shoshone–Bannock people prior to Euro-American contact.
A diamond hunting newspaper solicitor made the first recorded reference to ‘Map Rock’ in 1877. The petroglyph panel gained notoriety when it was interpreted in 1922 by Bob “Two Gun” Limbert as a map of the Snake River from the source in Yellowstone to the mouth of the Columbia. Bob “Two Gun” Limbert featured ‘Map Rock’ and other petroglyph sites in southwestern Idaho in numerous Union Pacific Railroad publications enticing “Easterners” to discover the unknown Idaho by buying train tickets.
(photo: courtesy Joe Decker, Canyon County)