BLM contractor damages dinosaur tracks in Moab

MOAB, Utah — A contractor hired by the Utah Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has appeared to have damaged dinosaur tracks by driving heavy equipment over them while repairing the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

More than 200 individual fossilized tracks have been discovered at the site, including tracks from long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs, several types of carnivorous dinosaurs (including sickle-clawed “raptors”), and crocodiles. It’s one of the largest and most diverse tracksites known from the Early Cretaceous time period in North America.

Last year, the BLM approved a project at Mill Canyon to replace a boardwalk, originally built in 2013 for public use.

“During that effort, heavy equipment is on location, but it is absolutely not used in the protected area. The Moab Field Office has completed a National Environmental Policy Act analysis for this project, and work is being conducted in accordance with that decision. When work resumes, it will continue to protect the natural resources,” Rachel Wootton, a spokeswoman for the BLM Utah office, told Deseret News.

On Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity issued a cease-and-desist letter to the BLM Utah Office.

“This careless disregard for these irreplaceable traces of the past is appalling,” Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin program director for the center, told the Tribune. “It really calls into question the bureau’s competence as a land-management agency.”

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