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Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

About 15,000 years ago the area that is now Dinosaur Provincial Park was flat and covered by an ice sheet nearly 2,000 feet thick.

Throughout time, the ice thawed to unveil rolling valleys, hills and hoodoos (tall, thin spires of rock) that now cover the park. In 1979, Dinosaur Provincial Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site namely for the significant fossil discoveries of nearly 35 dinosaur species — some 75 million years old. Located about 30 miles northeast of Brooks, Alberta, Canada in the country’s largest badlands region, Dinosaur Provincial Park also harbors abundant live bird and mammal species among the sage flats, and the riparian cottonwood habitat surrounding the cascading Red Deer River that flows throughout the rocky park.

Outdoor adventurers can take note of more than 150 bird species including golden eagle, prairie falcon and loggerhead shrike, as well as several mammals roaming the park. The park’s five trails offer different experiences: interpretive displays, easy trails for kids and those with limited mobility as well as advanced hiking trails with views from high above the park.

The park's Prospecting Program lets visitors find their own fossils.

The park’s Prospecting Program lets visitors find their own fossils.

The park includes several special activities throughout the year: Sunset Tours occur at night when the air is cool and the sky is bright with stars giving visitors a special look at the natural preserve (May 19 – Sept. 1), the Prospecting Program gives hikers a chance to search for bones and fossil remains while exploring Alberta’s badlands, Centrosaurus Quarry Hike provides unique views of concentrated dinosaur fossils and dig sites (May 19 – Oct. 6), Explorer’s Bus Tour giving views of the park’s nature preserve from the safety of a tour bus (May 19 – Oct. 7), and the Fossil Safari is a guided bus touring explaining how to identify turtle, fish, mammal and dinosaur remains (May 19 – Oct. 7).

Bikes are also allowed in specific areas of the park, while fishing enthusiasts can grab a rod and take advantage of the fish in Red Deer River. Canoeing and kayaking are allowed on Red Deer River throughout the park. Camping is available in designated areas in the park for RVs up to 39 feet with 15-amp hook ups.

Call ahead for reservations: 403-378-4342, www.albertaparks.ca/dinosaur.

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