Local area paleontologist looking for financial support amid dinosaur track discovery

Rich McRae is curator of paleontology at the Tumbler Ridge Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre and is trying to raise corporate interest in supporting an additional tourist attraction behind the WAC Bennett Dam – south of the Williston Lake reservoir.

Earlier this month he put his idea before Fort St. John City Council and he’ll back in this area next month to meet with the District of Taylor Council on May 19th and the Peace River Regional District in Fort St. John the following week on the 28th.

“What we’re trying to do is get the equipment, mainly,” explains McRae. “This is a project that’s quite [far] from our home-base and there’s equipment that we’re lacking…the funding that we’re looking for is to get basic equipment because we’re going to have quite a few volunteers and researchers on the site.”

He says the centre is looking for about $175,000 to complete this year’s work.

“If we’re lucky with our funding campaign, it’ll give us the capacity to actually act as a more regional museum.”

The dinosaur tracks at Williston Lake were found in the late 1970s and unlike other tracks, discovered about 50 years earlier in the Peace River Canyon, they are not underwater and are well removed from any flooding associated with Site C dam construction.

Following the first phase of the development, the idea is to put up a structure to help conserve the site, which Mr. McRae says is close enough to the Alaska Highway that it could easily become an another Peace Region tourist attraction.

The 1,000 square meter site would be the third one in this area for dinosaur enthusiasts, along with the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark and the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, expected to open this fall at Wembley between Beaverlodge and Grande Prairie.

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