Planning an Education & Research Center in the Gobi
Help us get started on an education & research center in the Gobi
We’re in the early planning stages of an education and research center at Bayanzag Park in the Gobi Desert, one of Mongolia’s most popular tourist destinations and the first place dinosaur fossils were found in Mongolia.
Our current work includes meeting with government officials, scouting a location, speaking with the local community and gathering information for architecture, sustainability, security and infrastructure of the future facility. Your donation right now helps us cover the travel and research costs of getting the project off the ground.
Bayanzag Park protects dinosaur fossils, archaeology & desert ecology
The Flaming Cliffs are already world-famous among paleontologists and fossil enthusiasts. They are part of Bayanzag Park in Omnogovi Aimag, a southern province (aimag) of Mongolia in the Gobi Desert. They are a significant tourist attraction and many visitors come from around the world each year to see dinosaur fossils in the field and watch the sunset light up the red sandstone cliffs. The magnificent color prompted explorer Roy Chapman Andrews to give the place its English name, The Flaming Cliffs, in 1923.
The Mongolian name for the area is Bayanzag, named for the grove of small desert tree-shrubs that grows in stark contrast to the treeless desert that stretches for thousands of miles in every direction. The trees are called zag in Mongolian, saxaul in Russian. They are protected by national law and critical to the survival of a wide variety of local wildlife.
Bayanzag has no official facilities, trails or signs
The park currently has no visitors center, no trails, no facilities of any kind. Dirt roads lead the intrepid to the top of the cliffs where a small clutch of merchant stands sell miscellany to tourists. On the outskirts of the park are several ger camps, where tourists can stay in the small round, felt homes favored by Mongolian nomads. Some of these camps have modern dining and restroom facilities.
The area: Bulgan & Dalanzadgad
The closest town is Bulgan, a small town with just over 2000 residents and a single row of shops selling sundries and necessities. A children’s nature club based in Bulgan regularly volunteers for litter pick-up in the park.
The largest city in the aimag is Dalanzadgad, a small, modern city roughly two hours away. Dinosaurs are a popular attraction for the town. Prehistoric sculptures decorate a central greenway and a new theme park on the outskirts of town prides itself on its garden of animatronic sauropods, theropods and other beasts of the past.
Tourists and locals alike need information
While dinosaurs are popular in the region, very little information is available about them in Mongolian, leaving tourists and tour guides alike in the dark about the science, history and laws regarding Mongolia’s world-famous fossil heritage.
An opportunity to conserve fossils while enriching lives & improving a rural economy
The lack of both knowledge and facilities dedicated to paleontology means that extremely few young Mongolians are choosing paleontology as a career, and fossils themselves are vulnerable to erosion, accidental destruction, and poaching. People who live near one of the world’s most famous fossil quarries benefit very little, if at all, from its presence.
We believe a museum at Bayanzag is the best solution for the above issues, will be a positive force in the local community on many levels, and is an exciting opportunity to bring Gobi conservation, tourism, scientific research, and education into the future.