Making of a Monument
A grassroots effort
Beneath this valley is one of the richest fossil deposits in the world. Imagine instead this valley filled with a housing subdivision. There would be no open space, no trails, no scientific research, and no opportunities for you to explore and learn. There are times when our society must face difficult questions about our relationship to the land.
In 1969, the fate of this privately-owned valley hung in the balance. With the prospect of development looming, a group of concerned citizens and scientists banded together to form the Defenders of Florissant, an organization dedicated to achieving federal protection for the Florissant fossils.
Quotes from the Courtroom
Victor J. Yannacone, jr., lead counsel in the effort to preserve Florissant, along with attorney and future Colorado Governor Dick Lamm and his brother Tom Lamm, led efforts in the courtroom. Their ingenious legal strategy led to an injunction to stop development of the valley. The legal arguments set precedents for the development of environmental law.
The Florissant fossils are to geology, paleontology, paleobotany,
...if someone had found the original Constitution of the United States buried on his land and then wanted to use it to mop a stain on the floor, is there any doubt...they could be restrained?
Victor J. Yannacone, jr.
A Monumental Decision
The efforts of the citizens, scientists, and lawyers to temporarily delay development allowed time for Congress to pass the bill that established Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. The bill was signed into law by President Nixon on August 20, 1969.
[Photo captions, from left to right, read]
This Florissant fossil maple leaf is one of the thousands of spectacular fossils found at Florissant.
A Trio of Defenders - Estella Leopold, prominant [sic] scientist and daughter of conservationist Aldo Leopold; Betty Willard, scientist; Vim Wright, activist
Political cartoon by Pat Oliphant from the Denver Post
Erected by National Park Service.
Topics. This historical marker and monument is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public Work • Environment
Location. 38° 54.823′ N, 105° 17.145′ W. Marker is near Florissant, Colorado, in Teller County. Marker is just NW of the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument Visitor Center, along the trail leading to the exposed petrified Redwood stumps. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15807 County Road 1, Florissant CO 80816, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ancient Forest Diversity (a few steps from this marker); Stumps of Stone (within shouting distance of this marker); Is the Trio in Trouble? (within shouting distance of this marker); Ancient Clones (within shouting distance of this marker); Just One Piece at a Time (within shouting distance of this marker); Reading the Rings (within shouting distance of this marker); Layers of Time (within shouting distance of this marker); Dawn of the Recent Past (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florissant.
Also see . . . Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. (Submitted on October 21, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 21, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 74 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 21, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.