Unwitting tourists are tossing invaluable chunks of 200 million year old dinosaur tracks in a reservoir at a Utah park.
Authorities are scrambling to deal with a major problem at a Utah state park, as tourists are unknowningly throwing priceless rocks that are actually 200 million year old dinosaur tracks into the reservoir. Red Fleet State Park in Utah has been a gold mine for ancient dinosaur tracks, but visitors have not been able to resist prying up the rocks, not realizing what they are, and tossing them in the reservoir below.
Vandalism of the dinosaur tracks has been increasing over the last six months, and officials are not sure exactly what to do about it. Officials even considered hiring a dive team to retrieve some of them, although they know much of that will be wasted effort because the tracks will likely have been destroyed for the most part. Instead, they have opted to erect signs warning visitors.
Officials think at least 10 of the more visible dinosaur footprints have disappeared. The tracks are on rocks that are typically three to 17 inches in width.
“The dinosaur track site is deteriorating due to human impact,” the park wrote on their Facebook page recently. “There has been a substantial impact to the track site from individuals throwing rocks (most containing dinosaur tracks) into the water over the past 6 months. People come to our park from all over the country and world to see this amazing feature. It is not illegal to throw rocks into the water, it is illegal to displace these rocks which contain tracks. Be aware disturbing these rocks is considered an act of vandalism. Many tracks are very distinguishable to the lay person but many are not. This is why it is so important to not disturb ANY rocks at the dinosaur track-way. You may not be able to tell if the rock you are tossing has millions of year old dinosaur tracks imprinted in it or not.”