The organization I work for, NPEDC, was a partner host of the unveiling of the Williston Reservoir dinosaur trackway event that happened last Friday July 8, so I got to assist with the event coordination. It’s a tough job getting everyone registered and informed for the day especially with over 100 attendees from different organizations from across Canada!
We took a drive out to the tracksite a couple days before the event to figure out logistics, practice our radio kilometre marker calling, as the event was an hour down active logging roads, and to talk to the paleontologists about this exciting discovery.
Speaking of radio marker calling, my husband works in the oil and gas sector, so he drives on back roads almost every day. When he found out I would be calling the kilometre markers on the radio he took me for a drive and made me practice calling the markers in the truck! Last time I ever tell him what I am doing at work…though in hindsight his Radio 101 class was helpful and made me more confident on the day. I never thought I would require radio training to do my job! So, on the day I was a pro…we surprised the logging trucks by calling markers for two school buses, as they couldn’t figure out why two school buses were so far out on logging roads. After about an hour we were greeted by the paleontologists and their crew.
Dr. Richard McCrea and Dr. Lisa Buckley of the Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre, located in Tumbler Ridge, showed us around the site pointing out all of the different dinosaur tracks. It is believed that this tracksite may be the largest tracksite in Canada, possibly the world. There were visiting scientists from across the global assisting with the excavation and documentation of this exciting find.
The site is full of tracks left behind over 100 million years ago! Many of the tracks are from Allosaurus, which were carnivores, weighed 1,500 kilograms, and grew over 5 metres! With a space of approximately 600 m² uncovered, they have counted over 800 tracks!
Currently, Dr. McCrea, Dr. Buckley, and their team are working on uncovering and documenting an 2,500 m² area, but in the future they would like to uncover the other 12,000 to 18,000 m² and have an information building cover the area for tourists and future paleontologists to be able to visit and study the site.
Even with a little rain on the day, the event was a success and raised the profile of the importance of preserving these artifacts. Local and provincial government officials, along with local and international organizations, several media crews, and even a dinosaur documentary crew were present at this important unveiling.
The next step is to raise funds to preserve the artifacts under a structure and provide public tours of the site, but until then it is important the public be extremely careful if they are visiting the site.
It was extremely exciting to be standing on a site where evidence of how dinosaurs lived was present. I keep learning further information on the history of this area and the Peace Region which is amazing. I would have never thought I would move to a location that is so rich in dinosaur artifacts and has such a deep history. Though, I do need to educate myself more as all I remember about dinosaurs is from elementary school! The Peace Region is truly a rich and diverse corner of the planet.