Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Dinosaur Tracks of Western Australia May Go Extinct

You really have to want to visit Broome and nearby environs in the Kimberly region of Western Australia, because it’s a long ways from nearly everywhere else in the world. Even of the Australians I’ve met, relatively few have been there, despite Broome’s beautiful beaches, camel rides on those beaches, a wonderful open-air theater (the oldest In Australia), pearling history, longtime connections to Asian culture, small-town feel, and charming locals. Oh, and its dinosaur tracks, which of course was one of the reasons why I was motivated to go there with my wife Ruth in 2009.
Anyone up for some “ichnotourism”? At low tide near Broome (Western Australia), you can see some of the biggest dinosaur tracks in the world, made by sauropods about 130 million years ago. Or, you could put a gas-processing plant on top of them and build a port, which will generate absolutely no ichnotourism, stuff up the local environments, and if anything drive people away from the area. Hmm, tough choice: (A) short-term profits benefiting a few people and causing lots of collateral damage, vs. (B) preserving a world-famous natural resource, coastal environments, and cultural heritage that will continue to give back tourism dollars to the local community in perpetuity. Not to bias you, but I’m going with (B). (BTW, lovely wife Ruth for scale.)