Saved in Time: The Fight to Establish Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

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Saved in Time: The Fight to Establish Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Series Title:
Saved in Time: The Fight to Establish Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Hutchinson, Art
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Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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Saved in Time: The Fight to Establish Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/7/2015 3:54:16 PM] Home Saved in Time: The Fight to Establish Florissant Fossil Beds National MonumentSaved in Time: The Fight to Establish Florissant Fossil Beds National MonumentSubmitted by nwharton on 10-12-2013 11:22 AMAuthor: Estella B. Leopold and Herbert W. Meyer Publishing: Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2012. 139 Pages. Reviewer: Art Hutchinson The history of many of this nations protected areas has a similar theme: a place with unique resources is found to be in imminent danger of being looted, developed, or destroyed. Fortunately for us, many special places, like the Florissant fossils, were saved by passionate visionaries willing to put in the extra effort to protect those places for the future. The noble fight for the longterm protection of Florissant is reminiscent of similar efforts at other Colorado places like Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes. It is interesting that even today, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is a name that few know existseven here in Colorado! However, if one asks a paleontologist anywhere in the world about Florissant there would be instant recognition of its great importance to the paleontological history of the earth. In 1908 a University of Colorado professor called it the Miocene Pompeii (xx) in reference to thirty-four-million-year-old volcanic deposits interspersed with the fossilized remains of insects, plants, and stumps of the giant redwood trees. The Florissant of that time was a far different place than now, near sea level and similar that of northern coastal California. The book is an excellent primer on the geologic and paleontological sciences. The authors are masters at explaining why this place has preserved and now exposed such a unique set of fossils. In fact, a number of fossil species are found here that have never been found anywhere else. The book tells a captivating story as to why this landscape became the stage for great legal and public relations battles between those who wanted to preserve the fossils and those who saw the area only for its development values. The authors have used their credentials and obvious love of Florissant to craft a book that reads like a detective story and at the same time pieces together a fascinating tale of true grassroots-style preservation. The lead author, Estella B. Leopold, renowned paleobotanist and professor emeritus at the University of Washington, is also the daughter of Aldo Leopold, author of A Sand County Almanac. Dr. Leopold collaborated on the story of Florissant with Herbert W. Meyer, a paleontologist with the National Park Service. Together they have weaved a tight and intriguing story of how dedicated people can make a difference. There is no question that without the effort of the many citizens highlighted in this book, this most special place would not have been preserved. The result would also have been a major loss to the science of geology and paleontology as well as to the history of Colorado. The political and legal fight to save these fossil beds remains interesting for a number of reasons. One of these is simply because it happened in recent times and the events are well documented. The authors include a number of oral accounts, press articles, political cartoons, and courtroom activities that make this EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanThe Ute people have lived in Colorado longer than anyone else.


Saved in Time: The Fight to Establish Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/7/2015 3:54:16 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us a real human interest story. The political implications are perhaps the most relevant. The narrative provides the reader with a landmark case example of the still ongoing debate between private property rights, which included the right to destroy irreplaceable resources, and the public right to conserve a national treasure and its associated landscape for future generations.(98) Dr. Leopold herself was a major participant in this effort and is able to highlight some of the most telling stories of that effort. She includes a notable quote by a determined Denver citizen, Vim Crane Wright. Then I went right out, had my hair done, put on my pearls and high heels. I thought no self-respecting bulldozer operator would run over a woman in pearls and high heels.(68) That must have been a site to behold! The book was completed just before the long-awaited visitor and educational center was finally completed. The facility was dedicated this past summer and in many ways is the final chapter and the realization of that collective dream of those who put their hearts into seeing that this important place is preserved and protected for us as well as the generations to come. There is no question that this book is now a must read for anyone wanting to start a fossil adventure or learn more about the rich history of this planet: read the book and go learn even more about a great piece of Colorados rich heritage. It is just west of Pikes Peak near Woodland Park. "When the mountains are overthrown and the seas uplifted, the universe at Florissant flings itself against a gnat and preserves it." Dr. Arthur C. Peale, Hayden Expedition geologist, 1873. Quote from the Florissant Fossil Bed National Monuments website: Reviewer Info: Art Hutchinson is a sixth generation Salida, Colorado, native and was raised on the familys historic ranch listed in the National Register of Historic Places. He received a BA in history and an MA in archaeology from Colorado State University. Hutchinson started a career with the National Park Service in 1986 at Mesa Verde National Park. He went on to become the superintendent of Hovenweep, Yucca House, and Natural Bridges National Monuments, and Big Thicket National Preserve. He served as the National Park Service liaison to the Secretary of Interiors office in Washington D.C. from 2004 to 2005 and then superintendent of Great Sand Dunes National Park from 2006 to 2011. Hutchinson is currently an urban dweller in Denver and is the chief of planning for the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service (which includes ninety-one parks).