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Stop the Pinon Canyon expansion!

These two articles in Colorado Springs Independent and Denver Post are just the latest in an ongoing saga about the move by the U.S.Army to expand its Fort Carson base to include an additional million acres of land full of historical and prehistorical monuments, from wall paintings to dinosaur fossils.

The Fort Carson base, as it is now, is partially a nature preserve (like many military facilities are), but expansion, apart from kicking out many local farmers by using eminent domain, will intrude into areas rich with historical artefacts, not to mention dinosaur bones and tracks, most still not excavated and studied yet.

Lealaps, John Wilkins, MJS and PZ Myers have more information, as well as thoughts about possible motivation, i.e., not just obtuseness and ignorance, but active intent to destroy the area by the increasingly fundamentalist leadership of the Army.

The comparison between this move by the Army and the destruction of Buddhas by the Taliban is apt. Actually, it is worse: Buddhas were hundreds, perhaps thousands of years old and they were human artifacts – they can be rebuilt the way they were before from pictures and blueprints. But the dino bones are millions of years old and are important data towards understanding the history of Life on Earth – they cannot be replaced, even if we knew exactly how they looked like – and we don’t. We don’t have the pictures and blueprints for them.

The Colorado legislature and congressional delegation are, for the most part, against the expansion, but they are probably not strong enough to pull it off by themselves. But you can help. First go to the Pinon Canyon homepage and look around to get informed and see the maps of the place. Then sign the petition and contact elected officials on this matter. Finally – be creative! Make a YouTube movie, or start a Facebook group, or spread the petition through other social networking sites. E-mail your friends. And post about it on your blog if you have one, linking to the official site and petition.


  1. #1 coturnix
    May 30, 2007

    OK, I quickly made the Facebook group so go ahead and join it and invite your friends.

  2. #2 Laelaps
    May 30, 2007

    Thanks for the link and creating the group Bora. While I am deeply concerned about the natural treasures that will likely be destroyed if the expansion occurs, I am also concerned about the various farmers and families that would be displaced because of the land grab. I’ve heard that some have tried to block eminent domain in this case, but I can’t remember if it was successful.

    Also, some have pointed out that there are no live-fire exercises at the base, but this is untrue; in 2003 Fort Carson won the ability to participate in small-arms live fire exercises, and I imagine that once the base is expanded they could change their policy yet again. Even if bombing runs aren’t practiced at Pinon Canyon, that doesn’t mean that the dinosaur trackways won’t be destroyed by troop or tank training, and I can’t imagine that the public would be allowed access to the fossils on the military base.

    Personally, I think this falls more under the category of “They just don’t care” more than an active intent to destroy the fossils or area, but regardless of their motivation I hope their progress is blocked.

  3. #3 greensmile
    May 30, 2007

    Well, since they could’t hold baghdad, maybe they decided to try their luck closer to home.

    We need two impeachments, PDQ, to really stop this. Pelosi would not sign off on this. Until then, stall any way we can.

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