America’s national parks and national monuments have inspired awe and wonder for generations of American’s and international travelers for over a century. These public lands contain gorgeous landscapes, delicate ecosystems, wildlife, and FOSSILS! From the Antiquities Act of 1906 to the Paleontological Preservation Act of 2009, public policy has attempted to provide greater protections for paleontological remains for the benefit of researchers and patrons alike.
For this episode I spoke with Park Paleontologist at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, ReBecca Hunt-Foster. Her wealth of experience as paleontologist working for the Museums of Western Colorado, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service offered great insights as to the intersection of paleontology and policy. We discuss the closure of Dinosaur National Monument in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, policies concerning fossils found on public lands, the role of a park paleontologist, and features of Dinosaur National Monument itself.