British Columbia

Dinosaur footprints attraction proposed in B.C.'s Peace Region

A paleontology expert wants to turn hundreds of dinosaur footprints in B.C.'s Peace Region into a Jurassic tourism hot spot.

Rich McRae says there are hundreds of dinosaur footprints and trackways near Williston Lake

Hundreds of dinosaur footprints and trackways are found near Williston Lake, B.C. (Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre)

A paleontology expert wants to turn hundreds of dinosaur footprints in B.C.'s Peace Region into a Jurassic tourism hot spot.

Rich McRae, curator of paleontology at the Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre in Tumbler Ridge, says a 1,000-square-metre site rife with dinosaur footprints and trackways near Williston Lake would make the perfect tourist attraction.

"The idea is to put a building, a structure, over it to help conserve the site and also serve as a shelter for people to come and visit," McRae told Daybreak North.

McRae presented the idea to Fort St. John council on Monday.

He says the site is close to the Alaska Highway, and could act as an additional attraction as dinosaur enthusiasts head to Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark in B.C., or to the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum just across the border in Alberta.  

"That would be three attractions just within the Peace Region in both British Columbia and Alberta that could potentially bound together and do very strong marketing for tourism," McRae said.

The dinosaur tracks at Williston Lake were found just behind the W.A.C. Bennett Dam in the late 1970s. A number of other tracks were discovered in the Peace River Canyon many years earlier, but they were underwater, said McRae.

"Now this site is not near a river canyon, not in a way that would get it flooded, so we have a chance to actually conserve some of the same type of footprints that have been known since the 1920s," he said.

To hear the full interview with Rich McRae, listen to the audio labelled: Dinosaur track site proposed for northern B.C.

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