Utah is getting a new state park named after a dinosaurAndrea Smith

Utah is about to create two new state parks, one of which will be named after a 100 million-year-old dinosaur whose bones were discovered around Moab, which is known as the state’s recreation capital.

Parts of the Dalton Wells area in Grand County will become the Utahraptor State Park, after the bones of an unknown dinsosaur were excavated in the area. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Utahraptor ostrommaysi was a feather-covered bipedal carnivore that stretched more than 20 feet long and weighed more than 600 pounds.

A hand touches a model of a Utahraptor at an exhibition in Tokyo
Japanese firm On-Art created a moving model of a Utahraptor for an exhibition in Tokyo © Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

The first specimens of Utahraptor were found in 1975 in the Dalton Wells Quarry, and a large foot-claw and further remains were found in 1991. The remains of approximately 10 additional dinosaurs have since been found in the area, which is adjacent to Arches National Park. The Utahraptor has now become the state’s official dinosaur, and the new park named in its honor will cover 6500 acres of land, incorporating 150 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails. The new funding and designation will help to protect the land and to prevent fossils being stolen from the area.

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The second new state park will be formed from Lost Creek Reservoir in Morgan County, which will become the Lost Creek State Park. Hunting wildlife there will now be limited to waterfowl, and it’s a popular spot for trout-fishing rainbow, boating and water sports. The new parks will be the 45th and 46th in the state, and according to a fiscal note attached the bill, they could cost visitors up to $25 in entrance fees and up to $40 for camping in them.

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