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proposed changes at Dinosaur National Monument
Since arriving at SVP it's come to my attention that major changes have
proposed for the direction that Dinosaur National Monument will take managing of
the monument and its resources. In short, it has been proposed that the parks'
resources are not best spent in furthering research on paleontology, and that
the existing scientific positions at the monument- a researcher and preparator-
will be eliminated.
Needless to say, the people I've talked to tend to disagree.
It's not as if the program at the Monument has been slacking. They are
responsible for finding and preparing one of the best preserved _Allosaurus_
ever, a new species which, due to innovative use of radioactive detection
methods, now includes a skull. Last year at SVP the remarkably preserved skull
of a sauropod- not exactly an everyday find- was discussed. Dinosaur Monument
does more than just produce dinosaurs; it also samples turtles, lizards, and
who knows what all else- particularly if research there continues. Now in
general, I'm not in favor of our government cutting spending for science and
education, but in particular I think that a park which is called "Dinosaur
National Monument" ought to keep doing research on dinosaurs, if not actively
work to expand its program. Certainly the prospect of being able to go the
Monument and see new dinosaurs and other discoveries every time you visit would
seem to better serve the public and be more likely to increase visitation than
effectively shutting down research.
I'm going to go way out on a limb here and say that many people on this
will have opinions on this policy proposal. If so, you might make a real
difference by taking the time to write a letter clearly and (difficult as some
of us are going to find it) calmly stating our position on this matter- soon.
This might be particularly effective coming from those of us who have been
fortunate enough to visit Dinosaur Monument, its vast canyons, the fantastic
display of a Jurassic riverbed full of the bones of extinct titans, an
articulated Allosaurus, lots of incredible fossils still hidden behind the
scenes, and more out there in the canyonlands, just waiting for a bit of erosion
and a sharp eye. I know a lot of researchers are going to be working hard on
this issue, but the thing is, we're not who the monument is meant for. The
monument is intended for people who want to see incredible scenery and dinosaur
bones, so the voices of those people may make a much larger difference in the
end than the academics. As a national monument, it's in part the property of all
Americans, so people have a right to have a say in how it will be run.
If you do feel like making your voice heard, the relevant parties
Director, National Park Service
1849 C St. NW
US Senator Robert F. Bennett
431 Dirkson BLDG
Old Courthouse Building
51 South University Avenue
Provo, UT 84601-4424