In the realm of the dinosaurs
According to ehuacom, the Dinosaur National Monument is located in the border region of the two US states of Colorado and Utah in the Uinta Mountains, which are part of the Rocky Mountains. The protected area was designated as early as 1915. As early as 1909 was a researcher on well-preserved fossilsencountered in the region. In the years that followed, thousands of fossilized bones were unearthed by non-researchers and disappeared forever. In order to counteract the disorderly excavation of fossils, the area was placed under protection in 1915. Before the arrival of the whites, several Native American tribes lived in the region. Weather permitting, the fossil site is accessible year-round, but not free of charge.
Fossil head of a dinosaur – Dinosaur National Monument
Every year, more than 230,000 tourists visit the transboundary national monument with the Yampa River and Green River areas. Until 1938, the protected area only covered an area of 0.3 km² before it was expanded across borders to its current size. The entire Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado and Utah is 832 km². The dinosaur fossils are only present in the original, limited conservation area in the state of Utah. 1,500 fossilized dinosaur bones were uncovered on a rock face. At the Fossil Site, visitors can visit the Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center, which features well-preserved fossilized dinosaur skeletons and bones.
Flora and fauna
The Green River and the Yampa River are the two main waterways in the Dinosaur National Monument area. Along the rivers, nature blooms in lush green. There are also extensive pinyon juniper forests to discover in the protected area, as well as prairie-like landscapes and mountain forests. Away from the watercourses, the landscape changes into a barren rocky landscape. About 200 bird species have been recorded in the diverse region including bald eagles, turkey vultures and peregrine falcons, along with bighorn sheep, white-tailed prairie dogs, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels, mountain lions, black bears, coyotes, elk and river otters in the major waterways.
Leisure and camping
In addition to the fossils, the protected area is above all a popular area for numerous leisure activities such as hiking, canoeing, whitewater rafting, mountaineering or fishing. Camping in the sanctuary is also allowed, six campsites are available. Only the major roads through the Dinosaur Sanctuary are in good condition. All other routes through the region are originally preserved and are usually not paved.
Rocky Landscape and Pinyon Juniper Trees – Dinosaur National Monument
Another highlight in the Dinosaur National Monument are the settlement remains and rock paintings of the people of the so-called Fremont culture. They probably lived in the region from 200 AD to the 13th century. Only fragments of buildings and village-like structures remain. The rock paintings of the Fremont People are partly still well preserved and absolutely interesting and worthy of protection. The name Fremont comes from the Fremont River in Utah. There, settlement remains of the Fremont culture were discovered for the first time. People probably left the region because of the deteriorating climatic conditions.
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument – Colorado
Legacies of Stone
The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is centrally located in the state of Colorado. Located near the Pikes Peak mountain range, it is west about an hour from the city of Colorado Springs. The high-altitude Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument has a size of about 24 km². The protected area was designated in 1969. The protected area is located at over 2,500 meters above sea level.
The visitor center welcomes guests
Mostly plants and insects
Petrified tree trunks, tree fragments, and ancient fossils of plant parts and animals, mostly insects, have been recovered in the core region of the National Monument. The number of species and quantity of the most diverse fossils, mostly small insects, is enormous. The conservation of flora and fauna took place about 34 million years ago. Volcanic eruptions millions of years ago in the region were responsible for all life sinking under tons of volcanic ash and lava. Animals and plants were preserved in this way, since no oxygen could trigger the decomposition of animals and parts of plants. Eventually, as the earth’s crust uplifted, the fossils reappeared.
In a global comparison, the Florissant Fossil Beds site is the most species-rich and productive site on earth based on the time of conservation. At that time, before the volcanic eruptions began, there was probably a lake at the site, which was bordered by lush, mostly moisture-loving plants. This can also explain the species-rich and high number of individuals in the insect world among the fossils. The mostly small to very small fossil finds are very sensitive and fragile. Therefore, the excavations must be carried out with the utmost caution and care.
Petrified Tree Stump
Well suited for hiking
Apart from the fossils, the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument today shows an open forest and meadow landscape on a plateau with numerous tree species, which still feel comfortable at 2,500 meters above sea level. The region is very well suited for relaxed hiking. The largest mammals there are coyotes, bears, mountain lions and elk. An on-site visitor center provides visitors with more information about the fossil site. About 60,000 people visit the high-altitude Fossil Beds each year.