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lorien

First Fossiling Trip Out West!

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lorien

Greetings all!

Im a newish member to your site and am grateful to have such an amazing resource available for up and coming enthusiasts like myself. This summer,my family has planned a trip to yellowstone and the black hills. My kid sister is an avid fossil nut like myself and we are eager to get down in the dirt. Since we've never been out west before, i was hoping to get some pointers on destinations we should consider.... I'd like to keep as close to the interstate 90 and interstate 80 corridors as possible, so as not to further inconvenience the rest of my family. Cramming everyone into one car will provide enough frayed nerves as it is, and i'd like to keep the stress to a minimum - any suggestions on things near fossil sites that i could send my siblings to would be excellent, every diversion will help!

Also, i've read a few pages that suggest acquiring a fossiling permit? Is this legit? Most pages have informed me that vertebrates are off limits but i can dig around on any roadside for invertebrates to my hearts content. Im from Pennsylvania and our state has spoiled us for fossiling, as far as not requiring permits... I've heard that fossil quarries are a great place to go, if pricey - and im considering going to one of those - any suggestions on which? My sister really wants a fish fossil and the results seem to be good at the pay quarries, i was just wondering what the likelihood of hitting pay dirt is...

oh, and has anyone been to cycad national park/monument (not sure which one it is, a park or a monument) ? Is it worth the stop?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Cheers!

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Auspex

The biggest difference with land access in the west is that all of it is either private property, BLM land, Tribal lands, or a confusing mix of all three. Stay off Indian land, and unless you have permission from the landowner, stay off private property! This leaves the BLM's public lands; there (with specific exceptions) you may collect plant or invertebrate fossils. Determining which land is what is the hard part.

Some other members here may have specific familiarity with the region you will be visiting, and can maybe offer some tips.

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jpc

Hi lorien-

auspex's advice is good.

Cycad National Moonument is no more. It is the only National Monument to ever be undone. Too many people collected the cycads the area was put aside for and now there are very few to be found, and even fewer to show off, so the NPS un-monumented it.

There are several fossil fish quarries near Kemmerer, WY. If you go ,you will pay a fee, but yiu will find many fishes. I always send people to Warfield's... google "warfield fossils". The fish come ion two diffewrent layers; the 18 inch layer and the split fish layer. In the split fish you find fish moslty as part and counterpart and they need little extra prep. In the 18=invh layer you usually find them as raised silhouettes on the rock surface, and then eed a good bit of work.

I may have more later for you , but I gotta go to work now.

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old dead things

I'll concur with Auspex and JPC and also remind you that there is quite a distance between I-90 and I-80. As an example from the Black Hills (I-90) to closest junction with I-80 is close to 400 miles of secondary roads. The highway patrol frowns on collecting road cuts on the interstate highways. The only collecting permits are for repositories (like the Tate Museum where JPC works). You don't need a permit, but then you can't collect vertebrates on BLM anyway.

Warfield is also my recommendation, I might even be there when you are there (I spend most of August and September at the quarry) :) . Split fish is the route to go, 18 inch digging is very pricy which you will see when you check out Warfield's web site. Warfield Fossils main offices are in Thayne, Wyoming and the quarry is northwest of Kemmerer, Wyoming. Also a lot of the road cuts maybe on National Forest, National Grasslands or State Parks, so even collecting them, unless you know exactly where you are is tricky.

Jim

Old Dead Things

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lorien

Thanks for the advice guys! I appreciate it!

As for the distance between I-80 and I-90, i know there's lots of room between them... we're driving in on 90 and out on 80.. we plan on hitting Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons... then swinging south to Kemmerer and the junction with 80... then heading east again. i was just hoping to find some spots near 90 (on our way in) and some spots near 80 (for a quick stop on our way home)... My intention was to give the family a little time to stretch their legs and me a little time to pick through the rocks..
I'll try to stick to places that advertise fossiling, so as not to irritate the locals or the authorities... any other suggestions would be welcome and appreciated! im checking out Warfields now

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jpc

If you want to force the family to come see a nice museum, come on up through Casper and visit us at the Tate Museum. I'll show you our T rex.

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Dogdare

My son and I hit Blue Moon quarry outside of Kemmerer last year and had a great time. Easy pickings even for a 6 year old.

Herb

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jpc

Blue Moon Quarry? Who runs that one?

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fossiladdict

I would suggest buying maps that identify whose lands is whose (ie BLM, Grasslands, Indian, private, etc.) because that helped us when we went. Have fun- if you can, try to head from the Tetons, then down to the Dinosaur National Monument, and then to the fish quarries area in Kemmerer. They are so close together and go see Casper (JPC) too. It's all in between 90 and 80.

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jpc

Thanks for the plug f-addict. I hope to get to meet you next time... huh. (And I will apologize for all my typos in my previous post. I must have been hurrying).

Edited by jpc

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Dogdare

Blue Moon Quarry? Who runs that one?

Charlie Nunn. The quarry is between Kemmerer and Fossil Butte National Monument.

It's my understanding that the fossilized snake came out of his quarry some years back.

Herb

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