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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, April 23, 2010

Utah Fossil Dig and Gemstone Hunt

A New York Company, DINOSAURS ROCK, is offering a 3-day “Family Fossil Dig and Gemstone Hunt in Central Utah.” The trip is described as educational and is being promoted in NY, NJ, CT area and CA.

The company has this news release about the trip. Dinosaur hunting and rock hounding are popular activities in Utah and we offer some of the world's best sites for scientific study and recreational use. While we don't endorse or oppose this trip, we are concerned that some info in the news release may lead to misinformation. See the press release excerpts below and then our comments.

This private tour with Neil Brown and Leslie Freund, DINOSAURS ROCK husband and wife co-founders, plus expert local geologists, is a unique opportunity to have participants find and take home real Dinosaur Bone, Trilobites, Topaz and Geodes, while learning about paleontology, mineralogy and geology.

We ran our debut dig in '08. It was so much fun that we're doing it again. It's summer family travel that's educational, for kids 5-15," said Neil Brown, co-founder of DINOSAURS ROCK, the NY-based educational events company. "Unlike super-expensive university digs, everyone is guaranteed to find real specimens," added Brown.

Current itinerary includes a prehistoric journey to dig for 65-million-year-old Dinosaur Bone, Trilobite (500-million-year-old sea bugs) Excavation from a shale quarry, a Topaz Gemstone Hunt and excavating dazzling crystal-filled Dugway Geodes. Other possible finds include agates, jasper, brachiopods (fossil clams) and ammonites.

The tour includes three days of informational talks, fun DINOSAURS ROCK fossil and mineral raffles and giveaways, and guided tours with fossil and mineral experts on privately owned land where hands-on exploration takes place through fossil digs and gemstone hunts, plus daily picnic boxed lunches. Each participant is guaranteed to find lots of valuable genuine take-home fossils and minerals. A giant box of each family's fossil and mineral finds gets shipped home.

The press release says the tour will focus on privately owned land, but the itinerary suggests it will extend onto public land where specific rules govern rock hounding and fossil collection. See our web page for more info on these rules. Below are excerpts.

In general, a person may collect reasonable amounts of gemstones and rocks from public lands for recreational purposes or personal use. If rocks and mineral specimens are collected for sale or commercial use, a permit must be obtained (under provisions of the Minerals Act), from the BLM Field Office involved. In Utah's West Desert, for instance, administered by the BLM's Richfield Office, Utah's rare Topaz Gemstone can be found, and in the BLM's Salt Lake District, the popular Dugway Geode can be collected, both in "reasonable amounts for recreational purposes or personal use" without obtaining any special permission.

Invertebrate fossils are those without backbones I.E., trilobites, snails, clams, insects, etc. Common invertebrate fossils (those which occur in large numbers throughout a large area) may be collected in reasonable quantities for recreational purposes. Again, no permit is required unless invertebrate fossils are intended for sale or commercial use.

Vertebrate fossils are those with backbones. Vertebrate fossils, such as dinosaurs, turtles, mammals and fish, cannot be collected from public lands except by permit only! These permits are issued by the Secretary of the Interior specifically to properly accredited museums, universities and other institutions or their representatives.

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