To the editor:
When President Woodrow Wilson used the Antiquities Act to designate Dinosaur National Monument on Oct. 4, 1915, he was setting aside and protecting a unique place that in addition to being exquisitely beautiful contains one of the most complete Jurassic era fossil beds in the world.
Now, 97 years later, more than 200,000 people travel to Dinosaur National Monument annually to enjoy its beauty and journey back
some 150 million years to when the earth was ruled by the Stegosaurus, Torvosaurus and Dryosaurus. Additionally, these visitors power the economies of Northwest Colorado and Northeast Utah by spending nearly $6.8 million here every year.
These numbers continue to increase as visitation increased more than 50 percent from last year due to the opening of a new visitors center and the reopening of the Quarry Hall.
But, Dinosaur National Monument does not exist in a bubble. The quality and health of this site, and its long term viability as an economic generator, is dependent on the health of the Colorado River watershed and its tributaries, especially the Green River, which flows through the monument.
The Green River and the rest of this watershed have faced increased threats in recent years, such as the poorly conceived Flaming Gorge pipeline, which would siphon off water from the already depleted Green River, and the expansion of oil and gas drilling, which threatens to use massive amounts of water, pollute the air and risk toxins seeping into the watershed, putting both wildlife and humans at risk.
Let’s not celebrate Dinosaur’s 97th birthday by trading off its future. Instead let’s follow science to safeguard it for the long term benefit of our economy and our health.