Plaster casts of dinosaur tracks (left) can cause damage to track sites by leaving plaster within the track and damaging surrounding rock (right). [Courtesy photo/ Moab BLM] 

Damage to the dinosaur track site near the Poison Spider trail head off State Route 279 was found Nov. 13. The damage consisted of a casting attempt, which left plaster behind in the track itself and caused damage to surrounding rock.

These tracks have been repeatedly vandalized, said Lisa Bryant, asst. field manager at the Moab Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office.

“Most people are unaware that track sites on public lands are protected under federal law,” Bryant said. “We are working to educate the public about the rules and how actions such as casting can severely impact the important fossil resources.”

The Moab area is surrounded by several track sites that document the lives of dinosaurs that roamed the area during the Mesozoic Era, 75 to 210 million years ago.

Paleontologists are able to gather information by studying the tracks, and conclude the size and weight of the dinosaurs as well as the pace they’ve set.

Rebecca Hunt-Foster, a paleontologist at the Moab BLM office wants to remind the public that there is federal law prohibiting the removal of tracks or pouring plaster into the tracks.

“It is prosecutable,” she said. “Time could be served and fines imposed.”

The Moab BLM office is also seeking stewards for key dinosaur track sites in the area.

“The public is the eyes and ears to police these sites. If you see anyone pouring anything into the tracks, or removing the tracks, please call the BLM or authorities as quickly as you can,” Hunt-Foster said.

The site steward program needs volunteers to monitor significant sites for vandalism and looting, as well as natural impacts such as erosion. It is also designed to increase public awareness regarding the preservation of fossil and other natural heritage resources. The Moab BLM office has a similar site stewardship program for protecting archaeological resources as well.

Those interested in being a steward can contact the Moab BLM office at 435-250-2100, or stop by to visit with a paleontologist or archaeologist.

BLM seeks stewards to protect sites

Those interested in being a steward can contact the Moab BLM office at 435-250-2100, or stop by to visit with a paleontologist or archaeologist. 

“Time could be served and fines imposed.”