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For Immediate Release: Mar 15, 2001
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337


Arizona Historic Officer Defaces Historic Site

Phoenix - Arizona State Parks Assistant Director Renee Bahl, who oversees Arizona's State Historic Preservation Office, carved her name into a 100-year old adobe wall at the historic San Rafael Ranch in Santa Cruz County when State Parks purchased the property in 1999.

The matter was reported to State Director Ken Travous who directed that no outside disclosure of the incident be made. Contrary to his instructions, a photo of her handiwork (attached) was sent yesterday to every member of the state legislature by a State parks employee.

Bahl, who has held her position since 1993, is the person responsible for administering historicpreservation grants and otherwise protecting the historic and prehistoric heritage of the state. Arizona State Parks paid $8.6 million for the San Rafael Ranch.

"Talk about unclear on the concept; this fiasco is compounded by the failure of state officials to do anything about it," commented Jeff Ruch, Executive Director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) an employee organization that has provided legal defense to Arizona State Parks employees. "No wonder civil servants need strong whistleblower laws."