President Woodrow Wilson in 1915 set aside 80 acres around a dinosaur bone quarry in Utah as a national monument that was expanded into Colorado by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938. Primarily semiarid land with extreme temperature fluctuations, the 326-square-mile site includes the spectacular canyons of the Yampa and Green rivers, which cut their way through the red, yellow, and beige sandstone to a rendezvous at Echo Park. This monument became a battlefield during the 1950s when conservationists stopped a Bureau of Reclamation dam, a victory celebrated by Wallace Stegner in This Is Dinosaur (1955).
Between about A.D. 1000 and 1150 the Fremont people lived here in pit houses and pecked petroglyphs into rock formations. In 1776 the Dominguez-Escalante expedition forded the Green River about two miles from the quarry site. Fossils excavated from the dinosaur bone quarry since 1908 have provided much insight into the Jurassic period.
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