Regional Report: Rock Sculptures Spark Controversy, Assault In Bondville

Jul 26, 2013

After Grant Berick’s dog died, to ease his grief, he began creating more than 100 rock sculptures in the river in Bondville. The sculptures were a stunning sight, columns of stacked rocked of different shapes and sizes popping up throughout the river. The sight didn’t please everyone, however. Last week, another local man knocked them down one by one.

The art project and its destruction has prompted a heated debate. For our Regional Report this week, Ali Freeman of WCAX TV explains this unusual reaction to the rock piles.

Freeman says neighbors noticed Berick in the river almost every day, piling stone after stone. She says it became a community art project one locals started noticing the number of cairns growing:

“A lot people got involved,” Freeman says. “It become more than Grant, a lot of people took it on.”

Freeman says both locals and tourists started stopping by, taking photos, and piling rocks of their own.

Just down the road, Peter Salo also noticed the number of rock piles- and tourists- growing. He and his wife felt the sculptures were a desecration of nature. Freeman spoke to Salo about the sculptures:

“He said he didn’t mind a couple of them, but he said by the end he said it was just obnoxious. There were just too many of them,” Freeman says.

Freeman says Salo also had concerns about safety, since tourists were pulling off the road to visit the site.

So Salo grabbed a rake and headed down to the river. One by one he knocked the rocks down, a project he estimates took him about two hours.

After discovering the cairns were destroyed, Berick then allegedly sought revenge. There was an alleged altercation between Berick, and a man who was in a garage across the street from the sculpture site. Berick was arrested.

“Grant had just, I guess, taken out frustration on the wrong person,” says Freeman.

On WCAX's website, furious debate has errupted over whether or not the carins should stand. Last Saturday, the community gathered to re-build some of the cairns that had been destroyed in Bondville. Only time will tell if they remain standing.