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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, October 28, 2011

Expansion Planned For Vernal Dinosaur Museum

The dinosaur museum at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park in Vernal will be expanded, with funds coming from Uintah County.

That is the story reported in this Deseret News article, and it comes while other Utah state parks may face budget cuts. The Utah legislature is considering closing some less popular state parks.

The Vernal museum is one of our great spots to view and learn about dinosaur fossils. Below are excerpts from the news article.

The county, through its Impact Mitigation Special Service District, will spend $1.5 million to build a new repository and lab facility for the Utah Field House of Natural History Museum State Park.

The move comes as lawmakers consider whether to cut the budget for state parks across Utah, which could force some parks to close. Uintah County commissioners have opposed such cuts for the Field House, citing the role it plays in bringing tourism dollars into the region.

"The community is very positive toward dinosaurs and dinosaur bones," Uintah County Commission Chairwoman Darlene Burns said. "These are things we find locally and this has been a great tourist draw."

The new 11,000-square-foot facility that Uintah County plans to break ground on in the spring will be "state of the art, as far as the lab and all the latest and best preparation tools," Bennis-Bottomley said. It will also have climate controls to ensure that fossils and artifacts aren't degraded by the wild temperature swings that take place in the existing facility.

One unique feature of the new repository will be a glass partition that will allow museum visitors to watch as paleontologists and other experts prepare fossils and artifacts for storage or display, Bennis-Bottomley said.

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