Starting in Fall 2011, Friends of Big Bend National Park set out to raise $1.2 million in the coming years to create
the Fossil Discovery Exhibit – new exhibit spaces, an interpretive trail and improved picnic and parking areas at the existing Fossil Bone Exhibit site.
We are pleased to have already raised over $595,000 toward this excellent addition to the park’s resources. We have been given a challenge opportunity by the National Park Foundation, which will added $100,000 to our total last fall. We are very pleased to have reached this challenge, and completed our Phase 1 goal of $500,000. We are moving on to Phase 2, where we are working to raise an additional $600,000.
Click here to find out more about how to help make this project a reality.
Big Bend National Park has produced over 35 Cretaceous dinosaur species, the most of any national park in the country. With the addition of the newly discovered Bravoceratops, the park is at the forefront of current paleontological science. Over 1100 fossil species from plants, invertebrates and vertebrates have been discovered here and the park is one of few public lands in the world that contain the K/T boundary – strata that record the extinction of the dinosaurs and the rise of modern mammals. You can read more about the types of creatures found at Big Bend here.
However, at present their story is not being told to the visitors who come to the park today. This exhibit will interpret the park’s rich paleontologic and geologic history in engaging and immersive ways, engaging the public in the fossil story.
The exhibit site will be at the current, outdated Fossil Bone Exhibit site along Highway 385, the main road into the park. The Friends have already paid for a site plan, a shade ramada and wayfinding signage that will show visitors a taste of what is to come in that spot. The design work is underway and many fossil casts (including several dinosaurs) have already been chosen to represent the wonderful fossil diversity within the park. On May 2, 2013 there was a public hearing for the trail at Sul Ross University.
This exhibit will offer visitors an entirely new day of exploration in the park, and offer much needed amenities on the long drive from Persimmon Gap to Panther Junction.
From sea creatures to dinosaurs to mammals to the KT Boundary, the paleontological history of the park is rich, and we are excited to share it with visitors. Come out and see the changes underway soon – and watch out for that Alamosaurus!