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Garden Park Fossil Area Secures Landmark Dedication

This Garden Park National Natural Landmark plaque has been placed at the Cleveland Quarry along Garden Park Road north of Canon City denoting the storied history of dinosaur fossils uncovered in the area.

The Garden Park area north of Cañon City has taken on renewed national significance.   As part of the Fremont County Heritage Commission’s recent Fall Heritage Festival a dedication ceremony took place on October 9th expanding the designated area of the Garden Park National Natural Landmark (NNL).

A steady rain hampered events for the day but a group of Harrison Elementary School students braved the elements to tour the Marsh Quarry and then joined dignitaries for a dedication ceremony at the Cleveland Quarry alongside Garden Park Road.

In April 2013, the National Park Service and BLM expanded the Garden Park NNL from a 40-acre designation to 3,208 acres.  The NNL area now includes all the major Garden Park quarries, two of which are easily visited from Garden Park Road.   The designation helps to preserve the history of the Garden Park Fossil Area, where 14 different Jurassic dinosaur species have been found.

Cañon City became a hotspot for paleontology beginning in the 1870s when prominent U.S. paleontologists Othniel C. Marsh and Edward D. Cope uncovered the first fossilized bones of many dinosaur species in that area.    Since their famous “Bone Wars,” during which the scientists raced to discover and name new dinosaur species, many paleontology digs in Garden Park have provided the scientific world with irreplaceable information about the anatomy of Jurassic-aged dinosaurs and the types of environments they lived and died.

BLM Geologist Melissa Smeins is joined by the Fremont County Commissioners at the October 9th National Landmark dedication of the Garden Park Fossil Area following the rainy morning ceremony.