Monday, Oct 17, 2011
On September 28th, Secretary Ken Salazar and Intermountain Regional Director John Wessels joined Dinosaur National Monument staff for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Quarry Visitor Center. An estimated 250 people attended the ceremony.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $13 million to construct the new visitor center and rehabilitate the Quarry Exhibit Hall. Both buildings and exhibits were completed for approximately $9 million. The 7,600-square-foot Quarry Visitor Center meets Gold LEED standards and incorporates sustainability into all aspects of design, construction, and operation.
On October 4th, the 96th anniversary of the monument, an estimated 1,000 people came to celebrate the grand opening of the 10,500-square-foot Quarry Exhibit Hall and view the 150-foot-long by 50-foot-high fossil wall, which contains almost 1,500 dinosaur fossils. This was the first time that visitor could enter the hall in more than five years. The old visitor center was closed in July 2006 because of significant life safety issues.
A ceremony was held at the Exhibit Hall that drew more than 600 people, including Intermountain Region Deputy Director Laura Joss and Utah Governor Gary Herbert, who was the keynote speaker. The Uintah High School Marching and Jazz Bands played music and the school Choir sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” The local Veterans of Foreign Wars provided a color guard for both ceremonies to present the colors and provide a 21-gun salute. Clifford Duncan, a Northern Ute tribal elder, provided an opening prayer for both ceremonies as well.
Both ceremonies were managed using the incident command system. The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office, Utah Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Park Police, and law enforcement rangers from Dinosaur National Monument and Canyonlands National Park provided security. The entire NPS seasonal law enforcement academy from Colorado Northwestern Community College assisted with traffic control and security.
There were no incidents or disruptions during either ceremony, although a number of individuals from the local area’s oil and gas industry showed up in semi trucks and hard hats during Secretary Salazar’s visit.