Revitalization Begins on the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway

Dinosaur DiamondThe Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway is one of the few scenic byways in America to span two states – Utah and Colorado. The byway connects Price, Vernal and Moab, Utah with Fruita, Colorado and travels through some of the most beautiful country in the region. First designated as a state scenic byway in Colorado in 1997, the Utah segment (also known as the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Byway) was designated in 1998. The entire route (both segments) was approved as a National Scenic Byway in 2002. The Dinosaur Diamond preserves and educates the public on the cultural, historic and paleontological resources found along the route. These resources include rock art, dinosaur quarries, track sites, museums, parks, and monuments.

Over the last ten years the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway has continued to drive tourists to discover our cultural and paleontological past; however, a hiatus in a central, organizing structure has resulted in a general lack of upkeep in several areas. The time has come to move the Dinosaur Diamond off of the back burner and restore it to its former glory.

Last December, the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway was assessed for its wayfinding utility by the Colorado DOT. During the assessment, teams of community members, city officials, employees from CDOT and tourism offices drove the Diamond to evaluate sites, signage, materials, and knowledge of community members. The results of these adventures were shared during an exit interview for the assessment held at Dinosaur Journey.

The next morning we held a strategic planning session at Dinosaur Journey to discuss the future of the byway. It was during that strategic plan that we unanimously decided to begin a revitalization of the byway, beginning with reinstating a six person organizing board. Members of the board (who will be voted upon at the upcoming first quarterly meeting) include Nancy Bramer (Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Program), Shalee Johansen (Carbon County Office of Tourism), Greg Gnesios (Former Dinosaur Diamond Director), Kelli Hepler (Delta County Tourism), Michael Leschin (Bureau of Land Management, Price Field Office), and Julia McHugh (Museums of Western Colorado).

The new organizing board has been meeting monthly, via conference calls, to identify core needs, or strategic areas, to focus upon in order to revitalize the byway. These areas include:

• Sustainability of Operations and Governance

Potential reinstatement of Dues

Revision of Mission & Vision Statements

• Connectivity in Communities and Partners

Reaching out to partners

Holding regular workshops & meetings

• Marketing and Advertising

Re-inventing the website

Reaching out to tourism groups

• Generation of New Promotional Materials

Potential development of a Dinosaur Diamond mobile app

New brochures/rack cards

• Enhancement and Development of Interpretive Content and Accessibility

Replacing worn signage

Additional and enlarged turnouts

The first quarterly meeting was held near Moab, UT on Monday, March 7th. The new dinosaur tracks museum, Moab Giants Dinosaurs Paleosafari, generously donated the use of their facility to host the meeting. At this meeting we discussed the status and structure of the byway organization, strategic areas for focus, as well as the needs and concerns among community partners. Additionally, we voted on the members of a new governing Board of Trustees as well as officers of that board. There was also a unanimous vote of commitment among the present community stakeholders for the revitalization of the byway. We got a lot done and have kick started our way to a Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway revival.

The Museums of Western Colorado is proud to be involved in restoring this priceless treasure back to its former glory. We hope you get a chance to travel the diamond this year and watch our progress.