"Fossil Butte National Monu,ment" Wyoming Things to Do Tip by mtncorg
Wyoming Things to Do: 159 reviews and 314 photos
Fossils usually mean minerals and the countryside around here is dotted with mining and energy plants - Dick Cheney is from Wyoming afterall. The world's largest strip mine - coal - is a few miles south; a nearby Exxon plant is the world's largest producer of helium; coke, natural gas, oil and sulfur are all also very important here.
11 miles west of Kemmerer - 1 .5 miles off US 30 - a 1000 foot high escarpment risies above the plain within which is the largest deposit of freshwater fish fossils in the Western Hemisphere - rivaled only by a similar deposit in Solenhofen, Germany. Fossils include perch, herring, paddlefish, stingray, and catfish along with turltles and plants. The fossils were first discovered when a railroad cut was made exposing the fossils.
The Visitor Center has lots of exhibits and displays describing the area's ancient past - the area was a lake within a subtropical climate zone 50 million years ago - and a little on palentology. It is open from 8:30-4:30 (8-5:30 in summer). No camping is allowed here - Kemmerer is the nearest town. No collecting of fossils is allowed, of course, but if you get real excited you can stop just out of the park and with a fee, you can dig your own fossils out of their quarry - Ulrich's Fossil quarry. There is a 2.5 mile round trip trail that takes you to the historic quarry site with interpretive signs en route.
Remember, if you are in the area - Kemmerer is where James Cash Penny began his nationwide chain of department stores - JC Penny. He opened his first Golden Rule store in the booming mining town in 1902. His house is downtown behind the Chamber of Commerce and the 'mother store' is a few doors up the street. The Golden Rule name was changed in 1914.
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