Have you, or anyone you know, ever removed pottery sherds or other artifacts from archaeological sites on federal land because you thought it wouldn’t matter? You may have thought you are one person, and it’s only a few small pieces.
If so, you aren’t alone. Some people feel this way and have felt this way in the past, evidenced by repeat photography projects of archaeology sites showing landscapes denuded of artifacts over the decades. Consider a scenario where 1% of the over 180,000 annual visitors to Wupatki National Monument removes one pottery sherd each year. This amounts to the removal of 1,800 pieces per year!