A National Park Service visitor center that was built over a dinosaur bone quarry has been deemed unsafe and closed indefinitely.
Mary Risser, superintendent of the Dinosaur National Monument, said the building "will remain closed indefinitely until significant life, health and safety issues are addressed."
Bill Johnson, executive director of economic development for the region, said county officials were caught off guard by the announcement of the closure Wednesday.
"It's vital to us; it will definitely hurt tourism," he said. "If people find out it's closed, that may very well influence their decision to come here."
The national monument, about 20 miles east of Vernal and 138 miles east of Salt Lake City, offers other activities, including hiking, rafting and camping, but most tourists visit the monument to see the quarry.
The center, shoehorned between a pair of sandstone ridges near the Green River, is the only place at the monument to see dinosaur fossils and gets about 300,000 visitors a year
Continual repairs have been needed at monument since it was built on unstable clay soil in 1957. The library had to be abandoned because support beams flexed through a wall. Gaps more than a foot wide have shown up where the building is pulling away from the cliff.
On the Net:
Dinosaur National Monument: http://www.nps.gov/dino
Source Citation:"Utah Dinosaur Park Visitor Center Closed." The America's Intelligence Wire (July 13, 2006): NA. General OneFile. Gale. Alachua County Library District. 3 Sept. 2009
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