Fossil Beds hold planning meetings

The newly built Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, with the world famous John Day fossil beds in the background.

GRANT COUNTY --Superintendent of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument Jim Hammett, announced that the National Park Service is working on a new plan for John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

"We are beginning to revise the general management plan, which will guide the monument's direction for the next 15-20 years," Hammett said. "The first step in this process is seeking public views on how we should manage the monument in the future."

The public is invited to attend two open house planning meetings with monument staff to discuss how John Day Fossil Beds National Monument should be managed over the next 15 to 20 years.

The first meeting will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, at the Malheur National Forest Federal building, 431 Patterson Bridge Rd., in John Day.

The second meeting will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, at the Fossil Museum, second floor, at the corner of First and Washington Streets in Fossil. A brief presentation will begin each meeting.

The last general management plan for John Day Fossil Beds National Monument was completed in 1979. Since then, the monument has been expanded, visitation has increased, monument staff and researchers have learned more about the significance of the monument's resources and a major paleontology center has opened. Many of the plans contemplated in the 1979 document have either been accomplished or determined to be not feasible.

"This new general management plan will provide overall direction for the monument's future, as well guidance on what actions we should take to achieve that vision," Hammett said. "The plan will also help identify how the National Park Service may best protect its valuable fossils and other natural and cultural resources while also providing for visitor enjoyment of the monument."

Written comments will also be sought from the public via postal and e-mail messages. These comments will help guide Park Service planners in developing alternative approaches to managing the monument's resources, visitors and facilities.

"The public will play an important role in the development of the general management plan," Hammett said. "We want to work with all interested individuals and groups throughout the planning process. I urge everyone to participate during this process and share your views for this special national monument. Your involvement will help guide us and will result in a better plan than we alone could write."

For further information on the meetings and the new general management plan, call the monument at (541) 987-2333, or through their Web site at www.nps.gov/joda.

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