Rocky Mountain Section - 72nd Annual Meeting - 2020

Paper No. 1-5
Presentation Time: 9:40 AM


HUNT-FOSTER, ReBecca, National Park Service, Dinosaur National Monument, 11625 East 1500 South, PO Box 128, Jensen, UT 84035, BREITHAUPT, Brent, Bureau of Land Managment, Wyoming State Office, 5353 Yellowstone Road, Cheyenne, WY 82009, MATTHEWS, Neffra A., Bureau of Land Management, National Operations Center, Denver, CO 80225 and SCHUMACHER, Bruce A., Minerals and Geology Management, US Forest Service, 1617 Cole Blvd., Building 17, Lakewood, CO 80401-3305

The remarkably extensive and abundant Mesozoic-aged exposures on public lands around eastern Utah have made this region well known for its fossil resources. Many of these fossil sites are available for visitation by the public at interpreted sites. These public fossil sites provide a unique opportunity to combine public’s interest in science with the federal mandate for the inventory, monitoring, and educational use of paleontological resources on public lands. Collaborative efforts with federal partners, the scientific community, and the general public have ensured that new discoveries and existing resources are managed and preserved using scientific principles and expertise.

A majority of public paleontological sites in this region consist of dinosaur tracksites. These range from late Triassic to mid-Cretaceous sites, with a majority occurring during the mid-Jurassic. While thousands of tracksites exist in eastern Utah, there are eleven public sites for visitors to investigate, such as the Red Fleet Tracksite, the Bull Canyon Tracksite, and the Dinosaur Stomping Grounds. The newest of these public sites, the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite located north of Moab, preserves abundant Early Cretaceous fossil tracks, including those of dinosaurs, crocodiles and birds. This site combines traditional on site interpretation, while also including public educational components through guided tours and school curriculum activities that are freely available for teachers to utilize on site or through distance learning opportunities.

Public paleontological sites are an effective means of increasing the understanding of fossil resources and the values of preservation and protection, as well as fostering an awareness of the significance of paleontological resources on public lands. Through the development of these sites millions of visitors have been reached, allowing a unique opportunity not available in many regions.