A proposed monument to the state’s “dinosaur heritage” is being rescinded amid controversy over its inclusion of a fossil that could be considered a threat to endangered species.
The State Land and Natural Resources Department’s (SLNDR) decision to scrap the proposed Dinosaur National Monument, which would have been the nation’s tallest, was announced on Friday by SLNDR Commissioner Todd Hecht.
The decision comes amid a backlash over the inclusion of the fossil, known as “Garden of the Gods,” which was found in the Grand Canyon by a USGS team led by the late George C. Hays in 1967.
The fossil was part of a large collection of fossilized remains that the USGS had previously preserved in an amphitheater in the park, which the agency called the “crown jewel of the park.”
The decision is a reversal of a decision made by the U.S. Geological Survey in December to include the fossil in the National Monuments Act, a law that authorizes the designation of national monuments.
The National Monument Preservation Act allows the USG to designate monuments for specific areas in the U,S.
that are in a state of catastrophic natural disaster or disaster that has a significant impact on natural resources.
The new proposal will include an exclusion zone of about 1.2 square miles that is located in the southwestern part of the Grand Tetons national park, a state that was once home to the largest prehistoric ecosystem in the world.
The removal of the Garden of the God fossil will be rescinded and replaced with a new monument that would have included an exclusion area of about 5 square miles, Hecht said in a statement.
The proposed monument would have encompassed the area between the Grand Mesa and the Grand River, where the Gorges Dam sits and where the Colorado River empties into the Grand Terrace.
The new monument would also have been smaller, with only four percent of the land area being covered by the proposed monument.
The Garden of The God fossils were found during a US Geological Survey survey of the area.
The land would have also been designated as a National Monument if it had been a natural disaster, but that designation was rescinded due to the threat posed by the Garden Fossils.
The Gorgess Dam sits on the Gualala Plateau in the area, a region that is home to a variety of endangered species, including the California condor and the American chestnut.
The proposal was also opposed by a number of environmental groups, including Friends of the Grouse and the Southern California Conservation Coalition.
“The new monument will continue to allow the destruction of the world’s largest dinosaur, while allowing this iconic landmark to remain intact and in service to our country’s future conservation priorities,” said Sarah Gershoff, the national campaign director for Friends of The Grouse.
The restoration of this iconic place will not restore the natural treasures of the original Garden Fossil, and this new designation is not an opportunity for that to happen.””
The new designation will continue the destructive legacy of the removal of these fossils, and the damage to our fragile ecosystem caused by the monument.
The restoration of this iconic place will not restore the natural treasures of the original Garden Fossil, and this new designation is not an opportunity for that to happen.”