Dinosaur National Monument

State: Colorado, Utah
Region: Colorado and Utah

In 2015, the BLM finalized the Dinosaur Trail Master Leasing Plan. The MLP revises the agency’s framework for how and where oil and gas leasing can proceed on public lands near Dinosaur, in the northwest corner of Colorado, in order to balance the needs of developers with protections for natural resources, night skies, natural quiet, and views of this national monument.

President Woodrow Wilson established Dinosaur National Monument in 1915, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt expanded the boundaries of the park in 1938 to the 200,000 acres of canyon country, mountains, and rivers that it is today. Dinosaur National Monument is a world-class park where paleontologists have found a wide array of dinosaur bones such as stegosaurus, diplodocus and allosaurus, which have been showcased all over the globe.

The monument attracts 300,000 visitors annually, contributing over $17 million annually to the economy and support hundreds of jobs to the region. But extensive oil and gas development in the area has placed Dinosaur National Monument among the most at-risk parks for some air pollutants, according to both BLM and National Park Service studies.

Dinosaur National Monument experiences days when the air quality is almost as bad as Los Angeles, in part due to the extensive oil and gas development in the Uinta Basin, even though it is remotely located in the mountains and canyons of northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado. The BLM has proposed to sell leases in the wild lands surrounding the park. Concerned citizens worried that oil and gas exploration and drilling impacts to the park would be dramatic: air and water pollution, increased noise, lights from drill rigs harming the scenic beauty of the night sky; all might combine to decrease visitation to the park. Citizens pressured the BLM, and in 2013, the agency annnounced that it would defer those and 77 other leases from the lease sale for further review.