CFI donates helicopter time for removal of Dinosaur bones


For Immediate Release
April 16, 2003

Chetwynd Forest Industries, a division of West Fraser Mills Ltd, announced on April 11 that it would commit up to $10,000 in helicopter time for the excavation of British Columbia's first dinosaur.

At least 20 dinosaur bones, which were discovered in 2002 on an expedition arranged by the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, represent the oldest known dinosaur skeletal material in western Canada. The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation is preparing to work on the skeleton in the summer of 2003, with palaeontologist Rich McCrea at the head of the excavation, and plans to prepare and exhibit the results of the excavation in Tumbler Ridge.

The remote location - deep in a canyon near Tumbler Ridge - posed significant logistical problems in getting the skeleton out and transporting it to a safe location in town. The donation of helicopter time from CFI addresses a major challenge and greatly improves the chances for a successful excavation.

According to McCrea, who will lead the project team this summer, the donation comes at a crucial stage of the planning. "Our plan to remove the dinosaur bones from the canyon hinged on the use of a helicopter, to bring in the necessary equipment and to transport the bones and the equipment back out, but it was the most expensive budget item. Thanks to CFI’s donation, the plan is much closer to being a reality."

For Brian Pate, Forestry Supervisor at Chetwynd Forest Industries, there is good reason to support the project; it was Brian himself who discovered the first short dinosaur track way in this canyon. After informing the Museum Foundation of his find, the research and exploration began in earnest, resulting in arguably the most exciting dinosaur discovery in BC to date.

Chetwynd Forest Industries is the first private company to become a major sponsor of this project. The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation has been fundraising since January to generate the $50,000 needed to fund both the excavation project and the delivery of six 5-day dinosaur theme camps for kids. The "Dino Camps", delivered through the Tumbler Ridge campus of Northern Lights College during July and August of this year, will allow a maximum of 60 kids, ages 7 to 12, to experience both classroom instruction and hands-on field activities related to dinosaurs, palaeontology and geology. Registration forms and camp itineraries are available by calling 250-242-5591.

Corporate donations have been received from Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, Eagle Geophysical and Waberski Darrow in Fort St. John. The District of Tumbler Ridge has approved funding to create exhibition space in the Community Centre for the skeletal finds, dinosaur footprints and other archival material. The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology has also been generous, offering to train a member of the TRMF in dinosaur bone preparation.

For more details on Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation projects, to become a member or make a contribution, email cgolightly@nlc.bc.ca .

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