Friday, September 30, 2011


Update: The initial posting was done as the story of the opening was breaking in the news. This post has now been updated with additional photos and text.

Throughout most of this blog I have concentrated on following the work at what was known as the Quarry Visitor Center, the building surrounding the Carnegie Quarry. I have done this because my interest was in telling the tale of the fixing a very sick building while trying to protect the priceless scientific treasure it was built over to protect. However, the project at Dinosaur actually involves 2 buildings. The other one is ¼ mile down the road from the Carnegie Quarry. That building will serve the needs of a typical National Park Service visitor center.

Before looking at that, however, we need to attend to some nomenclatorial issues. Since it was opened in 1958 the name Quarry Visitor Center has been used for the Carnegie quarry building. Pretty obvious why and quite logical. However, after the new construction project, the name Quarry Visitor Center will be used for the lower building, running in parallel with the name Canyonland Visitor Center which is used for our headquarter’s building in Dinosaur Colorado. The Colorado half of the park is best known for the magnificently carved canyons of the Green and Yampa Rivers, the Utah half for the Carnegie Quarry. The building formerly known as the Quarry Visitor Center will henceforth be known as the Quarry Exhibit Hall. I shall follow this terminology from this point out.

Okay, so what about the new Quarry Visitor Center? As I said, it will perform most functions of a typical NPS visitor center. It houses exhibits, offices for interpretation and law enforcement staff, has a cozy AV auditorium, the bookstore/giftshop, will be a site for educational programs, and, of course, bathrooms.

 Here you will catch the shuttle to go to the Quarry Exhibit Hall. The QVC will serve as the place to find out what to do and where to go in the Monument after, of course, seeing the great Wall of Bones. The new exhibits highlight the diverse historical, archeological, geological, paleontological, and biological resources of Dinosaur and directs you to where best to see them. All this was sorely missing in the former Quarry Visitor Center and is a great addition to the park. See my recent post about the move of the life-size Stegosaurus model to the front of this building.

The Quarry Visitor Center was completed about 10 days before the Quarry Exhibit Hall, so we decided to open it early. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held this past Wednesday, Sept. 28. Speakers included....
Mary Risser, Superintendent, Dinosaur National Monument
Clifford Duncan, Northern Ute Tribe Elder
John Wessels, Regional Director, InterMountain Region, NPS

 The Keynote Speaker was Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior.

After the dedication and opening I was able to tour Secretary Salazar through the nearly completed Quarry Exhibit Hall to see both the freshly cleaned bones and the new, dramatic exhibits.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and posterior dorsals, sarcrals, pelvis, femur, and anterior caudals of Allosaurus fragilis.

It wasn’t a long tour --- a Cabinet level position runs on a VERY tight schedule. One barely has the time to explain the differences in innervation of the laterosphenoid in camarasaurid and diplodocoid neosauropods. Fortunately a longer tour was possible  for Regional Director John Wessels, although he did run out of time before I ran out of answers.

The Grand Opening of the Quarry Exhibit Hall will be on Tuesday October 4. More news about that to follow.

Salazar and Allosaurus skeleton:

All others: Lorraine Chure

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