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Just two weeks after a dinosaur track was cut out of a rock in Moab, local business owners have pooled together money to offer a big reward for information leading to an arrest.
The business owners say the Allosaurus track, located along the popular Hells Revenge Trail, was a highlight for tourists because it was so easy to see. It disappeared in mid-February, cut out of Jurassic age Navajo sandstone. Scientists estimate the track was 190-million years old.
Ken Green, owner of Moab Cowboy Country Offroad Adventures, takes groups to the area every day. The last time he saw the track was at about 6:30 p.m. on Monday Feb. 17 and when he returned Tuesday around 3:30 p.m. it was no longer there. He reported the theft to the BLM.
“We were upset,” said Jason Taylor, manager of Moab Adventure Center. “There’s a lot of people who make their living in the backcountry here, and when these things get stolen or taken or defaced, it affects us, not only because we care about the area, but it’s also our careers and our livelihoods.”
“People should enjoy the area, bring their friends and family and leave with photographs, not tracks or items that have been there tens of thousands of years,” Taylor said.
“I like to share as much as I can with our guests and clients that come out, and now something is ruined forever,” said Melissa Nerone, with Rim Mountain Bike Tours.
A group of local outfitters have pooled together money to offer a big reward for information leading to an arrest.
“We were surprised at how many people jumped in, and the business owners jumped on it because we don’t want to see our backyards torn up and this is everybody’s country,” Taylor said.
They’ve raised about $7,000 in about a week. Some of the donated money came from out-of-state.
The BLM asks anyone with information on the theft to call 801-539-4082. Suspicious activity near any archeological area should be reported to the agency by calling 435-259-2100.
Also, there are volunteers called "site stewards" who keep an eye on archaeological sites in danger of vandalism or natural deterioration. With so many sites, stewards often focus on the sites that are large, easily accessible, or prominent, known sites. If you'd like to be a site steward, contact the BLM for information.