[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
Tourism Effort with Colorado Fossil Sites
Dinosaur Bones - Bonus, Boon for Pueblo Tourism?
By GAIL PITTS
PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) - Pueblo could be an ideal staging area for a new eco-tourism
effort focusing on three Southeastern Colorado paleontological sites.
That's a conclusion of a case study by a tourism class at the University of
Denver which studied the feasibility of development of regional recreational
development of Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument south of Colorado
Springs, Garden Park Dinosaur Discovery Center near Canon City and Picket Wire
Canyonlands south of La Junta.
The three sites form a triangle, with Pueblo the major city most accessible to
all three, the report notes.
"If a connection among the three areas is created, and a comprehensive
historical/paleontological experience is provided to the visitor, the area could
become a primary destination, with the very positive economic impact for the
region," the paper's marketing section said.
The study is the outgrowth of the interest in responsible tourism and
eco-tourism of DU Associate Professor Robert M. O'Halloran of the School of
Hospitality Management and Tourism.
"If handled correctly, if marketed correctly so as not to overrun it, it could
be a tremendous potential for the entire region," O'Halloran said.
The case study was designed to be part of research for a combined effort of the
U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management
and the U.S. Geological Survey.
The challenge is to develop the three for recreational and tourism use without
damaging the fragile sites, the report emphasizes.
This is particularly difficult at Picket Wire, where access has not been
developed and a special permit through military land is required.
But, the report points out that the 1991 act which transferred Picket Wire to
the agriculture department from the army requires "an interagency agreement that
includes providing for access by the public."
An agreement for access has not yet been reached.
But, once access to the Picket Wire's heritage sites of dinosaur tracks,
petroglyphs and archaeological sites becomes more accessible, the report warns,
"there will be growing concern about the degradation of the trackway" and other
artifacts, the report says.
Recreational use of the canyon would require some facilities, but the report
recommends that professional guide subcontractors be used to minimize stealing
and destruction within the canyonlands and to maximize safety.
Concessionaires would also be able to control the capacity of the site to avoid
over-utilization, the report said.
There is also the question of how to preserve the dinosaur tracks as the
Purgatoire River meanders through the canyon.
"The potential for regional development is immense, but it is also affected by
the need to preserve," the report repeats.
A Pueblo staging site for the three archaeological locations "could house not
only information about visiting the area and all three sites but could serve as
a learning center," the report concludes.
"There could be information about the dinosaurs and the native tribes whose
artifacts are found in the canyon. It could also have a great number of pictures
(of all the resources) and castings of some of the tracks, which could serve as
a preservation technique."
Another possible promotion could be held at the Colorado State Fairgrounds, the
report said, which "would be an excellent spot in which to develop awareness of
the trackway and other...sites."
The report also suggests an alternative plan to create a visitors center at
Picket Wire to serve as a central location within the canon.
The report recommends using Dinosaur National Monument in the northwestern
corner of the state as a development model.
In fact, O'Halloran broadens the regional recreational concept to include all of
Colorado's ancient attractions.
"Maybe there could be a circular loop," he says, going through the state from
the Picket Wire, Florissant, Garden Park to Mesa Verde and up to dinosaur.