Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to visit Sept. 28 for ribbon-cutting
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will visit Dinosaur National Monument this week to cut the ribbon on a new visitor center that will open to the public a week later. The public is invited to the event, set for 10 a.m.
The original visitor center, built in the 1950s, was closed in 2006 because of structural damage. Attempts had been made to stabilize the building over the decades, but health and safety concerns led the Park Service to close it for repair and reconstruction.
All photos from the National Park Service. More photos are online at the Dinosaur National Monument website.
“October 4 is the 96th anniversary of the creation of the original 80-acre Dinosaur National Monument,” said superintendent Mary Risser. “This will be the first time that the public will be able to see the dinosaur fossils in more than five years. What an exciting way to mark Dinosaur’s founder’s day. The National Park Service and Uintah County invite the public to join us in this celebration,” Risser said.
Construction of the new visitor center was funded by stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It was slated as a $13.1 million project, and is being completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
The new hall was built over the site of the world-famous Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry. It provides close viewing of almost 1,500 dinosaur bones from the Jurassic Period, all exposed on the cliff face where they were deposited about 149 million years ago. The new exhibit hall will also feature information and displays about the Jurassic environment and its inhabitants.
Along with the quarry, the monument is also known for a stellar collection of petroglyphs and pictographs, along with stunning riverside scenery at the confluence of the free-flowing Yampa and Green rivers.
Exhibits in the new visitor center, which now is located down the hill and separate from the fossil quarry, will introduce visitors to Dinosaur National Monument’s natural resources, homesteading history, petroglyphs, geology, paleontology, and rivers. They are designed to stimulate the interest of visitors and encourage them to explore the 210,000-acre monument on their own. Interpretive and educational items also will be available for sale in the Intermountain Natural History Association’s bookstore.
“The grand opening of the fossil quarry hall is a week later — still the original opening date — because of the added complexity of that building’s construction and additional time needed to install its exhibits and clean the fossil wall,” Risser added.
More information about the Oct. 4 grand opening of the quarry site will be provided as it becomes available on the monument’s grand opening webpage. For additional online updates, those interested in Dinosaur National Monument can follow the park on Facebook at and on Twitter.
Filed under: Colorado, national parks, public lands, recreation, Travel Tagged: | Dinosaur National Park, Fossil, Jurassic, Ken Salazar, National Park Service, Paleontology, petroglyphs, Summit County News