Two new state parks to open in Utah, one named after a dinosaur

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Utah is getting two new state parks and one of them comes with a peculiar name.

The first will be called Utahraptor State Park, named after the state dinosaur and is located 15 miles north of Moab. The other will be named Lost Creek State Park after a state reservoir and lies 10 miles northeast of Croydon. The two parks will officially be Utah’s 45th and 46th state parks.

The park is named Utahraptor after dinosaur fossils were found in the Dalton Wells area in Grand County in 1975. The Utahraptor was said to be a large, heavy-built carnivore that roamed North America on two legs. Scientists believe that the species was over 23 feet long and weighed more than 600 pounds.

“Utahraptor is the largest dromaeosaur in the family,” paleontologist Angelica Torices at the University of La Rioja told Smithsonian Magazine. “The claws on the hand seem to have been more specialized for cutting than other dromaeosaurs.”

Torices went on to explain that the Utahraptor had teeth at the front of the lower jaw that angled forward substantially farther than in other raptors, which made them efficient eaters. There is hope that naming the park after the dinosaur species will stop the stealing of fossils which is currently an issue in the Moab area, reported Fox 13.

The creation of the two new state parks comes as a $36.5 million investment under House Bill 257. “This bill has been over 100 million years in the making, and its time has come,” said Steve Eliason, the Utah state representative who pushed the initiative forward.

The new parks will come with a plethora of hiking trails and campgrounds for visitors to enjoy.