Hypothetical battles between the US Military and dinosaurs/assorted monsters have long been a staple of comic books (here’s a page from Star Spangled War Stories), but now it seems that the modern American military may yet blow up some dinosaurs, although it’s more akin to “[bombing] a dead horse”. Indeed, as stated on page 20 of the May 2007 issue of National Geographic, Colorado’s Fort Carson is looking to expand its current holdings into territory now containing private lands, Comanche Natioanl Grassland, and the site of some of the best dinosaur trackways ever discovered.
From agriculture to paleontology, everyone is going to lose if the Fort Carson expansion goes ahead as planned through the use of perhaps one of the most dishonest forms of land acquisition; eminent domain. So far, however, the army hasn’t exactly been forthcoming in its plans and claims that it would prefer to obtain new land from willing sellers rather than force it, but I don’t think anyone can blame me if I’m a bit skeptical about the military’s intentions. Why does the military need more land at all? So far I’ve seen excuses ranging from an increase in troops at the base to the need for training dealing with longer-range combat, but overall the officials involved have been secretive about their dealings and ideas for any expansion.
Needless to say, many farmers and people who live in towns that would be engulfed by the expansion (as far as we understand it, that is) aren’t too happy about this, and have set up the Pinan Canyon Expansion Opposition Coaltion (it could use a less awkward title, but it says what it is). While I am concerned about people being forced off their own land by the government, I also worry about the ecological impact of an expanded army base as well as the great loss such an expansion would be to paleontology. All we have left from the Mesozoic is in the ground, and if the army is allowed to destroy the trackways and skeletons found in the area, those resources will be forever lost. Hell, it’s already happening already, fossils being found throughout the area (even within the existing base) and who knows what else might be in the rock.
Simply put, the expansion of Fort Carson is unnecessary, unwanted, and dangerous; a huge mistake in the making. The army must be prevented from gaining more ground in the area, for the people, ecology, and even fossils of the area are far more valuable and important than some extra elbow room for soldiers.