Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Colorado District Stout Research Center

I have been searching for a location in Anza Borrego with the geographic name of 'Camel Ridge' for about two years. I know that it is in, near or part of the Palm Springs Formation, and that it is a major track site.

If one does a Google Search of it, you'll find references to Area 35, camel tracks, elephant prints, and all sorts of really interesting things.

The name itself does not appear on any public documents that I can find, and when I contacted the agency in charge of Paleontological research in Anza Borrego, I was told that the information about Camel Ridge is protected and not made available to the public.

The agency, 'The Colorado District Stout Research Center' would not offer any information because they are afraid of damage to the site.

They seem concerned only up to the point of money. I later found out, that if I wanted to sign on as a volunteer, spend 160 hours of my time, buy their books, go on their excursions, then at that point the information about where it is on public land may be made available.

In other words, pay to play.

It doesn't seem to make any difference to them that they are dealing with Public Land. They have the opinion that the information about the locations of these sites are theirs to do with as they see fit.

I have also learned, that over the years, thousands of fossils and track site have been conserved (taken) by the Stout Research Center, or given to them.

A gentleman by the name of George Jefferson is in charge, and is very protective about giving away any information that would influence the value of the fossils.

You see, one of the things they do with the samples, is sell them.

Yep. Fossils taken from a California State Park from locations which are kept secret, are being sold for profit to other states and other collectors.  If someone wants to go and see these sites, you must buy their books, take their classes, and go on their excursions. All of which costs money.

The folks who are in charge of overseeing the running of the park, employees of you and me, are selling off state property.

And unless we want to pay, we are not permitted to have such information.


So, what can I do?

I can learn.

I can find out about the geology of the area. I can learn about the location and make up of the different formations. I can estimate where 34 km east of Canebrake is.

I can learn what critters lived when,  and where in the park those periods are best exposed.

I can determine where land and lake once touched, and where the strata has been turned on edge exposing layers and layers built up over different time periods.

I can locate and visit Hawk Canyon,  where some of the oldest fossils in the park have been discovered.

I can wander around the badlands of Carizzo to see why Google Earth has blocked it out.

( At first look, it appears as though satellite photos from different periods have been stitched together giving it that swatch look. however if you look closely, washes die off into nothing in one area, and others pick up from nowhere in other areas where the two photos are stitched together. They did a nice job, but it is still obvious they tried to make it look natural.)

So my plan is not to have tunnel vision about Camel Ridge, but to find areas that are rich in natural resources such as fossils and tracks, and what ever else I can find.

I plan on photographing them, documenting all the information about the find, photographing their surroundings, noting the GPS coordinates and then posting the information on this site as to let other know where these natural wonders are.

I understand that there are some people who may want to disturb the areas, however I am of the mindset that to disallow all people the knowledge of these locations based on possible damage by a few, does not indicate a need to hide where the areas are, but a need to dissuade those who would do harm.