Forest Service to conduct tours in Picketwire Canyon, Sternberg Museum dinosaur dig

Guided tours especially for media representatives will be conducted in Picketwire Canyon in the Comanche National Grasslands and at a dinosaur dig being conducted by the Sternberg Museum of Natural History on Thursday, May 22.

The tours, provided by the USDA Forest Service, will leave at 9 a.m. from the Forest Service's Comanche Office at 1420 E. Third St., La Junta, CO. Tours will return at 3 p.m.

The canyon is 35 miles south of La Junta and is the site of the Sternberg Museum dig with more than 20 volunteers from across the nation. This is part of the Forest Service's Passport in Time project and is a two-week working vacation for amateur paleontologists who wish to work with professionals. The volunteers are currently working on the fossil of a longneck dinosaur.

One of the world's largest known trackways of dinosaur footprints will also be on the tour path along the banks of the Purgatoire River.

Forest Service guides will take media representatives in four-wheel-drive vehicles from the La Junta office. The canyon has no drinkable water, so each person should carry a minimum of two quarts. Other recommendations are high-top hiking boots to fend off prickly pear and cholla cactus and old tennis shoes for river crossings. To protect against a hot sun, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Insect repellent is also advised. Layered clothing and rain gear are recommended in case spring weather takes a turn toward cold and wet.

To reserve a place, call Barb Timock, public affairs officer, by noon Wednesday, May 21, and leave a message at (719) 553-1415.

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