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'Jurassic Park' plan to entice tourists.

Never mind seaside rock - Teesside's own Jurassic rock may soon be giving tourists something to chew over.

The Dinosaur Coast Project was set up in Scarborough in 1999 to promote that town's prehistoric geology.

Now project bosses want to extend it to take in Redcar and Cleveland's coastline.

Experts say the coastline offers startling geological evidence of when dinosaurs ruled the earth, with a fascinating collection of fossils to be found - if you know where to look.

Most are of Jurassic vintage - roughly 208-146 million years ago.

And while you're hardly likely to stumble across a T-Rex dropping or footprint, small marine fossils - including ammonites, belemnites and bivalves - could easily turn up.

At a special Cabinet meeting this week , Redcar and Cleveland councillors agreed a pounds 12,000 donation to fund the borough's annual participation.

The area between Skinningrove and Saltburn is seen as a strong contender for Dinosaur Coast status, although it could stretch as far as South Gare.

Cultural development officer Malcolm Armstrong, believes it will provide "a unique opportunity to attract visitors and residents to an exciting project."

In a report to councillors, he says: "The Jurassic rock exposures along this stretch of the coast are some of the best in the world and the project offers Redcar and Cleveland the opportunity to promote this unique asset as a distinctive tourism attraction."

Mr Armstrong admitted to the Gazette that evidence of huge beasts is unlikely to be found - "although you never know."

He added: "It will be a mixture of community education and visitor interest.

"It would introduce people to the notion of fossils by seeing them and even excavating them under ecologically and archaeologically sound conditions."

If the borough takes part, it is estimated around 7,000 extra visitors could be attracted.

A preliminary programme of Dinosaur Coast activities is planned for the summer if the council signs up.
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 28, 2004
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