Have you ever wondered why the Moab area is so rich in dinosaur tracks and fossils? Bureau of Land Management (BLM) paleontologists will talk about that and other topics in a series of free walks and talks continuing through August and into early September.
Coming up on Friday, Aug. 5, a BLM paleontologist will lead a guided walk at the
Dinosaur Stomping Ground, north of Moab, starting at 9 a.m. The two-acre area contains more than 2,300 single tracks. During the three-mile round trip, participants will see dinosaur tracks preserved in the Jurassic-aged Entrada Sandstone.
At 6 p.m. that day, a paleontologist will lead kids in a hands-on activity titled “Fun With Fossils” at the Moab Information Center, corner of Main and Center streets.
The BLM received special funding this year to offer the array of educational events as part of its “Respect and Protect” campaign.
Throughout the month, guided walks and talks will take place at various locations including Copper Ridge Dinosaur Trackway, Mill Canyon Tracksite, Mill Canyon Bone Trail and Poison Spider Dinosaur Trackway.
Each day includes kids activities at the Moab Information Center. In addition to the fossil presentation on Aug. 5, there will be hands-on activities about regional geology, area dinosaur discoveries, and how dinosaur tracks are made and preserved.
Maps to the various walk and talk sites are available at the BLM office, 82 E. Dogwood, and at the Moab Information Center. BLM paleontologist ReBecca Hunt-Foster and intern specialists in paleontology and archaeology will lead the talks.
“This is a special program we’re offering this year,” BLM-Moab spokesperson Lisa Bryant said. “It is all part of our outreach campaign to let people know (about) our cultural and natural history resources. You can just show up. They’re all kid-friendly events.”
Since May, BLM archaeology intern Ashley Long has been talking to visitors while stationed at various rock panels in the area.
Long said she has been researching the Copper Mill site where there is interesting material of historical value, but not many interpretive features explaining the history. Copper was discovered by the owner of a stagecoach road that went through the area, Long said. Interpretive signs are planned for the site, she added.
Tread Lightly, a nonprofit that promotes responsible recreation through stewardship, communication and education, is also sponsoring the campaign.
The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce looting and vandalism of Utah’s paleontological and archaeological resources by encouraging stewardship of the sites.
“We want people to come out and visit – and then help us protect them,” Bryant said.
BLM offers free walks, led by paleontologists, archaeologists
What: Jurassic Walks and Talks
When: August and early September
Where: Various locations
We want people to come out and visit – and then help us protect (our paleontological and archaeological resources).