Though officials say tourists probably don't always realize the rocks they're throwing into the lake contain dinosaur footprints, it's still not clear why they're dislodging sandstone from a state park and throwing it into a lake in the first place.
Though the incidents have been going on for some time now, officials in the Beehive State made a decision to put their foot down after realizing that over the last six months at least 10 dinosaur tracks measuring up to 17 inches have been destroyed. Perhaps unknowingly, tourists take the fossilized footprint slabs and throw them into the nearby reservoir. At least 10 large footprints ranged from 3 to 17 inches have been lost in the past six months.
"The dinosaur track site is deteriorating due to human impact", the park wrote on their Facebook page recently. There has been a substantial impact to the track site from individuals throwing rocks (most containing dinosaur tracks) into the water over the past 6 months. "He had already thrown multiple (tracks in the water)". Causing even the slightest damage to these properties is a horrendous act of vandalism. Then he saw the person holding two toe imprints from a partial dinosaur track. This is why it is so important to not disturb ANY rocks at the dinosaur track-way.
"It's become quite a big problem", Chavez said.
"Some of the tracks are very distinct to the layperson", Hansen said,"but just as many are not".
"You'd think common sense would provide guidance, but it's not coming across in people's mind", said Hansen, who's been the park's manager since March.
Park workers are trying to halt the destruction of the site for now but they suggest that these tracks are still in jeopardy.
BGR reports that the Red Fleet State Park officials are considering hiring divers to attempt a recovery of the slabs of rock that have already sunk to the bottom of the lake.
There's nothing inherently unusual about tourists skipping rocks on a lake in a state park. In order to stop this problem, it is important to spread the word. Help us keep the area preserved and attractive for visitors both tomorrow and for generations to come.
Sedimentary structures, for example those produced by empty shells rolling along the sea floor, are not produced through the behaviour of an organism and not considered trace fossils. Accordingly, researchers classify trace fossils into form genera, based on their appearance and on the implied behaviour, or ethology, of their makers.