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Southern Utah quarry offers dino-mite Jurassic journey

Published June 7, 2012 2:04 pm

Outdoors • Museum, BLM team up for free tours this month at site near Hanksville.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah boasts plenty of places to see prehistoric treasures unearthed from dinosaur quarries but few where you can visit the actual grounds yielding the fossils.

A relationship between the Bureau of Land Management's Henry Mountains Field Station and Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Ill., paves the way for guided tours from education specialists at a southern Utah quarry.

The Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry, about 10 miles northwest of Hanksville, will be open to free public tours June 5-17 with five one-hour tours offered each day at 10 and 11:30 a.m., and 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m.

Guides lead groups through the paleontological excavation areas and answer questions about the fossils, the recovery process and what the site has yielded so far.

This is the fifth summer Burpee Museum staffers have worked the site, a preserved river channel with Jurassic period items dating to about 150 million years ago. Paleontologists have uncovered long-necked sauropods, carnivorous dinosaurs and a possible herbivorous stegosaurus. The quarry also contains other multiple dinosaur skeletons, animal burrows and petrified trees.

The quarry is accessed via a dirt road not maintained for passenger vehicles. High-clearance and four-wheel-drive vehicles are encouraged and recommended for wet conditions.

During foul weather, tours are canceled and notifications will be posted on Highway 24 as to whether the site is open. Visitors need to be prepared for temperatures reaching into the high 90s, with water, sun-protective clothing and sunscreen.

Tours are limited to 25 people and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors must sign in before taking the tour.

For directions and more information, contact the BLM office in Hanksville or call 435-542-3461.

Brett Prettyman