Bill creating Utahraptor State Park signed in ceremony with Gov. Cox

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Fossil fanatics and dinosaur lovers in Utah will soon have another place to explore the reminders of the ancient world.

Tuesday afternoon, Governor Spencer Cox signed into law House Bill 257 ceremony held at the Utah Core Research Center, creating both Utahraptor and Lost Creek State Parks. Utahraptor State Park, which will be established in Grand County, will be especially appealing to those who appreciate all things dinosaurs.

Named after Utah’s state dinosaur, the Utahraptor, the park is the only place in North America where that particular species can be found. The Utahraptor is currently the largest known member of the Raptor family.

A photo of the first complete shoulder of an adult Utahraptor discovered at the site which will become Utahraptor State Park. (Courtesy of Utah Geological Survey)

The area where the park will be developed, located 15 miles northeast of Moab, will welcome future visitors with two modern campgrounds, restrooms, an office and entrance station, as well as trailheads for hiking and mountain biking, according to a fact sheet given at the ceremony.

Nestled in what will become Utahraptor State Park is the Dalton Wells Quarry, the site of one of the largest bone beds in North America. Full cast skeletons of fossils unearthed at the site have been distributed to over 30 museums around the world. Ten different dinosaur species have been found at the quarry thanks to 5,500 bones recovered. It is estimated that more than 100,000 additional bones may be found at the site in the future, according to the fact sheet.

While the exact size of the park has not been determined, it is anticipated to be between 7,000 and 8,000 acres. The park’s opening date was not announced, and it is still in the planning stages of development.

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