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Public fossil dig prorgam remains popular, even with rainouts

Courtesy ND Mineral Resources Dept.

North Dakota’s public fossil dig program remains popular.

State geologist Ed Murphy said the 2019 digs were held in four locations – Medora, Dickinson, Bismarck and the Pembina Gorge.  Murphy said 637 dig spots were offered.

"We had a real nightmare trying to get people registered," Murphy said. "But we went to an on-line registration system, and it works smoothly."

Murphy said the Bismarck dig was the most popular dig -- it filled up in 8 minutes.

A total of 407 people from 21 different states.

But Murphy said the digs were also affected by the wet weather. Eleven of the 46 days were lost to rain – and that compares with 12 total days lost from 2008 to 2018.

"Unfortunately, we had people who would fly in from New York City, for example, for one day, and they got rained out," Murphy said. "But they were still happy to see the behind-the-scenes work in out laboratory."

Murphy said for next year, a few days will be dropped -- and there will be more half-day positions offered.

"We found that a full day can get pretty long," Murphy said. "Especially when its 90 degrees without much wind."

Murphy said he hopes the half-day plan will bring in more opportunities for more people to participate.

The Dickinson dig will be dropped. But Murphy said the Bismarck dig will be expanded.

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