Waco Mammoth site could become national park

WACO, Texas (KXAN) – The federal government seems to be interested in creating a national park near Waco.

The director of the National Park Service met city leaders and researchers from Baylor University Tuesday to discuss permanent reservation of the Waco Mammoth Site.

“The Waco Mammoth Site offers an exciting opportunity to engage students, visitors and scientists alike with the story of these extinct mammoths,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “As the National Park Service looks toward our centennial next year, places like the Waco Mammoth Site provide great opportunities for more Americans to develop a lifelong relationship with parks as places where they can play and learn about amazing stories contained at sites like this.”

The bones stumbled upon almost four decades ago revealed one of the most complete fossil records of mammoths in the world. Twenty-four animals in all, Waco is one of the few places where we families of mammoths were discovered, some as young as 3 years old.

In a report to Congress, The National Park Service concluded that the fossils were “nationally significant, worthy for permanent preservation, and feasible for inclusion into the National Parks system.”

For a site to become a national park, Congress must pass legislation to establish a new unit of the National Park System. The first step is a National Park Service study, like the special resource study completed in 2008 for the Waco Mammoth site. The President can also establish new units through the use of the Antiquities Act, which allows the President to designate a site a national monument.

In 1978, Columbian Mammoth fossils were first discovered at the site, and it remains the nation’s first and only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Pleistocene mammoths. The remains of 24 mammoths have been found to date, 19 of which were part of the nursery herd. The site offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to examine the matriarchal herd structure and behavior of this extinct species.

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