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BLM responds to accusations it damaged dinosaur track site

Feb 2, 2022, 4:33 PM

mill canyon dinosaur track tracksite damage...

Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite, outside of Moab, Utah. Photo: U.S. Bureau of Land Management

MOAB, Utah — The Bureau of Land Management says it can’t find evidence its crews damaged a dinosaur track site near Moab, but the agency promised to send a team to investigate that possibility. 

The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite features more than 200 tracks belonging to as many as 10 different dinosaur species, according to the BLM. Visitors allege the damage stems from a BLM project to replace the boardwalk there. 

BLM responds to dinosaur track damage

Earlier this week, BLM officials confirmed its crews use heavy equipment in the area; however, they said they do not use the equipment in the area immediately around the dinosaur track site. 

Wednesday, the agency issued the following statement indicating a plan to investigate: 

Before further construction takes place at the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite, a BLM regional paleontologist will be onsite conducting a resource assessment working with Utah’s state paleontologist. When construction resumes, we will ensure exposed trackways near the walkway construction will be marked and flagged for avoidance, per the environmental assessment and associated decision. At this time, we have no evidence of any damage in the interpreted area, but out of an abundance of caution, a team will be dispatched to assess.

Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Utah BLM, following a series of weekend reports about damage to the Mill Canyon dinosaur track site. 

“I’m absolutely outraged that the BLM has apparently destroyed one of the world’s most important paleontological resources,” said Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin director at the Center for Biological Diversity in a news release. “This careless disregard for these irreplaceable traces of the past is appalling. It really calls into question the Bureau’s competence as a land-management agency.”

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BLM responds to accusations it damaged dinosaur track site