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'Utahraptor State Park' bill fails in Senate committee over money issues

Posted at 8:35 AM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 10:35:01-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to create "Utahraptor State Park" has failed to pass a Senate committee over funding issues.

House Bill 322, sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, failed on a 3-3 vote in the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Monday.

The bill would create an area north of Moab as a state park to preserve fossils and the site of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp and an internment camp. It would also serve as a second entrance to Arches National Park. Authorities have expressed worry that without protections, the land faces more harm. There is looting and unregulated camping going on now.

Moab and Grand County authorities have advocated for Utahraptor State Park.

But the $10 million price tag attached to bill was a lot for lawmakers, who face budget issues this session.

"It's a fantastic idea and we need to do it, but I'm afraid... we need to do it right like we would do another application for a state park," said Sen. Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, the committee's chairman.