The Trust For Public Land Unveils Parks for Dinosaurs Program

April 1, 2013
San Francisco, CA

The Trust for Public Land today announced a new program to begin conserving land for dinosaurs in the event that scientists succeed in restoring the ancient creatures to their former habitat.

The new program will build on The Trust for Public Land’s successful protection last year of the Marrs ranch, a thousand-acre property near Denver that paleontologists say is one of the best places to study the extinction of the giant lizards. Bones excavated from the site indicate that the land was once home to dinosaurs including Tyrannosaurs rex and Pteranadon—and could again support such creatures should the species be resurrected.

“Our focus has been on protecting land for people, but the Marrs project made us aware we need to expand our mission beyond protecting land for humans,” said Sean Connolly, Chief Marketing Officer of The Trust for Public Land. “With all the recent advances we’re seeing in genetic research and cloning, we might see dinosaurs returned one of these days. If that happens, they’ll need places to roam, grow, and play.”

While researchers recognized the need for strategic habitat restoration in order to prepare the ranch for inhabitation by dinosaurs, they applauded The Trust for Public Land’s proactive approach to conserving suitable properties from encroaching suburban development.

"The landscape of eastern Colorado has changed quite a bit since Triceratops browsed on the leaves of now-extinct plants some 66.5 million years ago," said Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and the paleontologist who surveyed the Marrs property. He continued, "Frankly, I am surprised and delighted that The Trust For Public Land is now willing to take on the preservation of Cretaceous landscapes."

Once dinosaurs are restored to the Marrs ranch, The Trust for Public Land anticipates partnering with the local conservation organizations to develop an appropriate environmental education program. Building on public interest surrounding the re-release of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film, “Jurassic Park,” the program would provide students the chance to observe dinosaurs in their natural habitat.

“A generation of children is growing up without a connection to nature,” said Connolly, “and what better way to reintroduce youth to the excitement of the outdoors than offering them the opportunity to get up close and personal with live dinosaurs? The dinosaur habitat initiative is not just about the dinosaurs: it’s about the kids.” 

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people—and dinosaurs. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to Cretaceous landscapes and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.