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Re: "Dinos' might in army sights"



I wrote each of Vermont's 3 congressmen (Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator
Bernie Sanders, Representative Peter Welch) the following message, and I
hesitantly suggest that at least the other U.S. citizens on the list could
do the same with their senators and representatives.
Dear Pat--
Fort Carson and the army are considering expanding their war training
grounds into the Picket Wire Canyonlands. This is a treasure trove of
dinosaur trackways and dig sites, and only 40% explored by paleontologists.
Please do what you can to get the army to keep its cotton-pickin' hands off
this southeast Colorado bonanza of bones.
Thanks a million.
I understand (don't know if true) that snail mail is much more effective
than e-mail at capturing a legislator's attention.
Scott Perry
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Adrienne Mayor" <afmayor@aol.com>
To: <VRTPALEO@usc.edu>
Cc: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2007 10:44 PM
Subject: Re: "Dinos' might in army sights"


> Sad sense of deja vu hearing about the situation at Fort Carson,
> Colorado, where the Army plans to aquire the fossil-rich Picket Wire
> Canyonlands and use it for "war training" within their Pinyon Canyon
> Maneuver Site.
>
> Consider what happened to the abundant remains of Titanotheres and
> other magnificent White River fossils in the South Unit of the
> Badlands in South Dakota:
>
> Badlands National Monument was established in 1939, outside of the
> reservation boundary. But in 1976, the Park’s size was doubled by the
> controversial addition of the Stronghold Unit, (even though it was
> part of the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux Reservation, by treaty since
> 1868). National Park Service literature explains how that happened.
> During World War II, the US Air Force took over more than 300,000
> acres of land from the reservation, land that contains abundant
> remains of Titanotherium and other large vertebrate fossils.
> Beginnign in 1942 and continuing until 1968, the Stronghold area was
> used as a huge aerial bombing range by the Air Force. Old wrecked
> cars were collected and painted bright yellow, then scattered
> throughout this badlands area as targets for the bombers. The Air
> Force also used plows to create gigantic bulls-eye targets, 250 feet
> across, carved into the prairie mesas.
>
> But the favorite bombing targets were the bleached bones of huge,
> extinct mammals eroding out of the badlands cliffsides. This comes
> from the official NPS literature distributed at the Park Center about
> the Stronghold Unit. According to the NPS literature, the skeletons
> of the largest fossils in the Badlands, the elephant-sized
> Titanotheres (which Othniel Marsh had named Brontotheres, "thunder
> beasts") were very noticeable,  “gleaming bright white from the air.
> These skeletons were commonly targeted by the bombers.” The US Air
> Force and, later, the National Guard gunners, deliberately blew to
> smithereens the fragile bones of great animals that had roamed the
> earth 40 million years ago. “Hundreds of fossil resources were
> destroyed in the bombing efforts,” according to the Park Service
> information sheet.
>
> Today, the entire Stronghold Unit of the Badlands National Park is
> littered with dangerous live ammunition, ranging from machine gun
> bullets to very large unexploded bombs. This ammunition is still on
> the surface and buried in the dirt and continually erodes out of the
> cliffs where fossils emerged. Park Service officials warn that
> “unexploded ordnance (UXO) of all shapes and sizes” poses a grave
> hazard throughout the Stronghold Unit, and could detonate at any time.
>
>
> On May 28, 2007, at 10:00 AM, MKIRKALDY@aol.com wrote:
>
> Dinos' might in army sights (captioned in print version as "A frontal
> assault on fossils")
> By Joey Bunch
> Denver Post Staff Writer
> http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_5997322
>
> <snip>
> The landscape of southeast Colorado also crawls with history, but
> time may
> be running out on public access to the past as Fort Carson considers
> acquiring
> the land for war training.
> This secluded valley is home to one of North  America's richest
> dinosaurs
> finds - more than 1,300 individual tracks; 35 sites  have yielded bones.
> "The great thing about this site is that it's here to  see, and it's
> free for
> the public," said U.S. Forest Service paleontologist  Bruce Schumacher,
> leaning against a rock after wading across the Purgatoire  River -
> the River of
> Lost Souls, as French explorers first called it.
> Schumacher planted his bare feet near the beachball-sized tracks of a
> brontosaurus left 150 million years ago.
> "The history here is just layered  on itself," he said.
> But every map proffered by the Army has included Picket  Wire
> Canyonlands in
> the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site.
> Karen Edge, Fort  Carson's Piñon Canyon outreach coordinator, did not
> return
> telephone calls for  comment on the future of the Canyonlands.
> <snip>
> _______
>
> We can always make war, but it takes a long time to make new
> fossils.   I
> would hope that the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology gets involved
> with
> blocking the acquisition of this land.
>
> Mary
>
>
>
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