|Heidi Henderson with Daniel & Charles Helm, Tumbler Ridge|
As they walked up the shoreline excitement began to build as they quickly recognized a series of regular depressions as dinosaur footprints.
Their discovery spurred an infusion of tourism and research in the area and the birth of the Peace Region Palaeontology Society and Dinosaur Centre.
The Hudson's Hope Museum has an extensive collection of terrestrial and marine fossils from the area. They feature ichthysaurs, a marine reptile and hadrosaur tracks.
The tracks the boys found were identified the following year by Rich McCrae as those of a large quadrupedal dinosaur, Tetrapodosaurus borealis, an ichnotaxon liked to ankylosaurs.
Closer study and excavation of the area yielded a 25 cm dinosaur bone thus doubling the number of dinosaur bones known from British Columbia at the time.
The dinosaur finds near Tumbler Ridge are significant. Several thousand bone fragments have been collected, recorded and now reside within the PRPRC collections, making for one of the most complete assemblages for dinosaur material from this age.
Some of these precious fossil sites are threatened by the Site C Dam. More than the fossils, the Dam will destroy one of the world's precious wildlife corridors and submerge valuable carbon sinks and agricultural land therein threatening instead of promoting food security in the North.
The true reveal for the paleontological significance is still to come. There are Triassic marine outcrops in northern British Columbia that extend from Wapiti Lake to the Yukon border. I'm excited for the future of paleontology in the region as more of these fruitful outcrops are discovered, collected and studied.