Basque Arborglyphs, looking into the past.
Our public lands hold a vast array of treasures that help us learn the history of an area and connects us to the past. Arborglyphs are an example of one such treasure.
Historical Basque arborglyphs, typically carved by wandering sheepherders in the early 1900s (although some even earlier ones can still be found) on aspen trees, are a glimpse into the west's past. They provide records of the minds and imaginations of sheepherders who passed through the area.. The subjects vary as widely as the sheepherders themselves, but many tell the tales of homesickness, loneliness, and cultural pride,
Unfortunately, arborglyphs are slowly disappearing from the landscape as trees succumb to the ravages of the passage of time: such as fires, development, vandals, disease, insects, and old age. If you're interested in the subject more, there are many online resources as well as beautiful reproductions found in Basque Aspen Art of the Sierra Nevada by Jean and Phillip Earl and Speaking through Aspens by Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe
Also, when you are exploring and enjoying the great outdoors and our wild places, please practice Leave No Trace Principles and please do not carve the aspen trees.
September 30, 2017 is National Public Lands Day. To celebrate this we are going to share images of public lands from our archives every day in September.
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