Recent Items – 2003
October 2, 2003 — Gary Rusak, Daily News Staff
There is a possibility of unearthing 1,000 dinosaur footprints on land that the Canadian Natural Resource Limited has been drilling near Tumbler Ridge according to Dr. Charles Helm who spoke Wednesday afternoon at the Oil and Gas Conference.
“That would make it the second biggest site in the Americas,” the noted physician and amateur paleontologist told a large lunchtime crowd at the Curling Rink. “It would bring the world’s attention to the region.”
Because the finding is still under investigation Helm would not say where the footprints were found. He did say that the CNRL contacted him when they found the site. It is this kind of co-operation that had Helm praising the oil and gas industry and the Oil and Gas Commission for their help in preserving the sites.
“It has been incredible with the Oil and Gas sector approaching us and working with us,” said Helm.
He added that the traditional schism between environmental and recreational groups and industry does not apply in Northern B.C.
“Its such a big area that there really is room for everyone,” he said.
Derek Doyle, commissioner of the Oil and Gas Commission said that it is the OGC’s job to protect these areas.
“When there is a discovery, the first thing we do is set it down on our maps,” he said. “We must set aside this very valuable asset.”
Helm gave a short slide presentation that explored the many geographic wonders of Tumbler Ridge, an area he moved to from his native South Africa in 1992.
“When the coal mines closed many people realized that it is a town worth saving,” he said. “It is so beautiful that it really is a utopian existence.”
Helm’s enthusiasms for the area led him to help develop 14 hiking trails through the region and a variety of cave tours and other recreational activities including a summer camp. With the serendipitous discovery of dinosaur bones and footprints a few years ago the district of Tumbler Ridge has gone through a renaissance. Helm characterizes the recreational potential for the area as almost limitless.
“Tourism in town is up 500 percent in the last two years alone,” he told the crowd.
Should they discover a massive dinosaur footprint site, that number is expected to soar.
This article is taken from the Peace River Block Daily News, Dawson Creek, with the permission of the publisher. The Daily News retains all rights relating to this material. The information in this article is intended solely for research or general interest purposes.