Dinosaur Museum & Research Center at the Flaming Cliffs
Help us complete the first step this spring: scouting a location in the Gobi.
Help us scout a location for a dinosaur museum in the Gobi
We’re heading to the Mongolian Gobi at the end of March to scout out a location for a new dinosaur museum and research center. Our airfare will be reimbursed by the Mongolian government, but we need to raise funds for the rest of the trip’s costs to stay on budget for the year. Your tax-deductible donation will help us:
- Hire two cars for the team & our supplies
- Book two hotel rooms for 10 days
- Document the trip for future museum fundraising
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 sunset light up the red sandstone–the phenomenon that prompted explorer Roy Chapman Andrews to give the place its English name 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.