How could some Utah tourists destroy prehistoric dinosaur tracks? They’ve unknowingly thrown them off into a lake, said Red Fleet State Park manager Josh Hansen. What’s more appalling is that there are many other reports of tourists vandalizing the tracks.
Josh Hansen said that there is an archaeological site at the park that contains hundreds of raptor tracks. In the last six months, they have been “heavily damaged,” he said. He saw a park visitor once who threw large sandstone slabs into the lake. Hansen stopped the youngster and explained that it was a dinosaur footprint in the stones.
The park manager has been aware of the issue ever since, and he stated in an interview that he wished he knew of the situation from the beginning:
“He had already thrown multiple [tracks in the water],” said Hansen.
The spokesman with the Red Fleet, Utah Division of State Park, Devan Chavez said that since November 2017, at least ten large footprints (3-17 inches long) went missing from the site and the issue keeps on increasing. Some of the footprints missing might still be at the bottom of the Red Fleet Reservoir. But others could have dissolved by now, breaking when they hit the water.
“They’re just looking to throw rocks off the side. What they don’t realize is these rocks they’re picking up, they’re covered in dinosaur tracks,” explained Devan Chavez.
The park contains many signs with messages like: “Do not disturb the rocks,” and “We are depending on you to preserve this special place.” However, many visitors have been seen throwing the rocks into the water. The Red Fleet State Park receives every year thousands of visitors that want to look at the trails of raptor tracks.
The footprints have been made by a raptor species called dilophosaurus, and its fossils are classified under Utah state laws. Anyone caught vandalizing or destroying them can be charged in court. Chavez stated that until now, they hadn’t charged anyone for destroying the tracks. They will, however, be more vigilant and act accordingly.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere