Ladonia Fossil Park     

Weeklong National Fossil Day Events  

October 13-19, 2013

Sunday, October 13: Tailgating Fossil Show with Dallas Paleontological Society

Weekdays: Park Open for Hunting

Saturday, October 19: Family Fossil Fun Day

Focus on Fun Finding Fossils in Fannin County



Having fun finding fossils at North Sulphur River Canyon near the town of Ladonia in Fannin County will be the focus of weeklong activities as the area observes National Fossil Day starting Sunday, October 13th, and continuing through Saturday, October 19th.  A  Tailgating Fossil Show will begin the week on Sunday at Ladonia Fossil Park with fossil enthusiasts lead by the Dallas Paleontological Society displaying fossils and information about hunting of fossils.  Fossil exploration in North Sulphur River Canyon will follow the midmorning show.

According to PK Kirkpatrick, chair of the Ladonia event, the Tailgate Show is a good time for fossil hunters to have their finds identified by knowledgeable paleontology experts. Dallas Paleontological Society President Stephan Gozdecki said his organization will also be selling its newly revised book, Fossil Collector’s Guidebook to the North Sulphur River,  a reference guide to fossil identification for fossils from the Fannin, Delta, and Lamar Counties of Texas.

A Family Fossil Fun Day is slated for Saturday, October 19th. The day will focus on kids and new fossil hunters at NSR. It all begins in Ladonia at Fannindel School Gymnasium located at 701 Mill Street. A separate fossil program has been created by two Texas Master Naturalists who are childhood education specialists and will be held in a separate area of the building to focus on kids fossil activities and learning. Adults will gather in the gymnasium for introductory learning about the NSR and fossil and artifact hunting there. Then, the adults and kids will adjourn from the school for guided exploration at nearby North Sulphur River Canyon fossil beds. The North Sulphur River in southeast Fannin County is noted for CreItaceous Period marine megafossils such as mosasaurs and plesiosaurs and for Ice Age fossils such as mammoths and mastodons.

Registration at the Workshop will begin at 8:00 am and will continue to 9:00 am when the programs begin. Ladonia Mayor Jan Cooper will welcome adult visitors to Ladonia. Texas Master Naturalist Doug Franklin will give history of the NSR, and North Sulphur River fossil hunter and event chairman PK Kirkpatrick will address safety issues for safely hunting at Ladonia Fossil Park, aka Pete Patterson Fossil Park, and provide information on how to have a great hunt at the North Sulphur River Canyon.  During the same time, kids will be talking about fossils, making artcraft fossils, and having sandbox fossil digs. At 10:30 am the group will adjourn for the guided exploration at Ladonia Fossil Park.

Partners joining the City of Ladonia to host the National Park Service sanctioned event include the Dallas Paleontological Society, and Texas Master Naturalist Bois d’ Arc Chapter and Blackland Prairie Chapter. Workshop chair, PK Kirkpatrick tells hunters, “While workshops of this caliber are usually with significant fee, these National Fossil Day events are free, thanks to a number of volunteers from our sponsoring organizations!”

In event of heavy rainfall, the river excursions will be postponed. Event Chair Kirkpatrick said those going on the excursion need to pack water, wear close-toed shoes or mud boots or mud wading shoes if the area should be so lucky to have had recent rainfall, and those with arthritic knees, ankles, backs, and mobility problems may want to stay topside at the park and not enter the river bed because of steepness and height of steps at the park.

For more information on the event, call Ladonia City Hall at 903-367-7011.





     Photos from Previous National Fossil Day Events
      http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/PK%20Kirkpatrick.JPG http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/DougFranklin.JPG
       PK Kirkpatrick                               Doug Franklin

http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Jacobs%202.JPG  http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/DHill%201.JPG

Dr. Lous Jacobs                                                             David Hill

http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Audience%205.JPGhttp://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Audience%203.JPG            http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Steps%20Down%20closeup%20girl.JPG                          http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Riverbed%20teen%20wall.JPG http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Riverbed3.JPG   http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Riverbed5.JPG

Welcome to Ladonia Fossil Park


The park is open 365 days a year but hunting is determined by whether water is in raging flow. Due to safety issues, hunting is allowed only when the river is not flowing. Admission is free. The fossils date back about 80 million years or more. With a few exceptions, hunters may collect and take fossils out of the river. A fossil left in the riverbed or embankment will not be there after the next big rainfall due to extreme flow rate of the raging North Sulphur River. Exceptions are large museum worthy finds and unusual and rare specimens. For many years, the North Sulphur River has been an attraction for local fossil hunters, amateur and professional paleontologists, and various fossil, paleontological, gem and mineral groups and societies in Northeast Texas. More recently, it has attracted national attention.

Ladonia Fossil Park is a project of the City of Ladonia, Texas and is located two miles north of downtown Ladonia on Highway 34 north and west of the bridge spanning North Sulphur River. The park sits on the bank of the vast river channel and provides an entrance into canyon hunting grounds that have yielded a variety of fossils from the Cretaceous and Pleistocene Periods. The river banks and river bed provides fossil enthusiasts with surface area exceeding a thousand acres for hunting.

The channelized riverbed, dry most of the time, stretches a distance of about ten miles to the west of and ten miles to the east of Ladonia Fossil Park and is open year round for fossil hunting. The canyon is approximately 300 feet wide and 80 feet deep. Cretaceous fossils including mosasaurs and plesiosaurs are found in the bed while Pleistocene fossils including mastodons and mammoths are found in the banks. Of particular interest to serious fossil hunters are red bed outcroppings.

Ladonia Fossil Park Rules
The City of Ladonia is not responsible for accidents or injuries occurring on this property. Use of this property is at your own risk.

        • Fossil collecting is allowed only within the river beds and banks.
        • Parking permitted in designated area only.
        • Possession/discharge of firearms, hunting and archery are prohibited.
        • Possession/consumption of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs is prohibited.
        • No pets allowed.

Enter and exit collecting area at designated points only. Area has dangerous drop offs, steep slopes and loose soil.

Encounters with dangerous insects/animals are possible.

Web searches yield several hits for Pete Patterson Fossil Park, one of which is available below

*** The Fossil Forum -Pete Patterson Fossil Park

Other websites have pictures of their finds and some can be seen below.

http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Fossil%20Picture%20River%20Bed.jpg    http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Fossil%20imprint.jpg

http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Fossil%20Picture.jpg  http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/Fossil%20Picture_many.jpg http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/fossil%20pic%202.jpg   http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/fossil%20pic%203.jpg

More images from folks that have visited the Fossil Park and searched the North Sulphur River

http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/steps%20to%20river.jpgSteep Steps leading down to the river bedhttp://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/riverbed.jpg http://cityofladonia.com/Fossil%20Park/riverbed2.jpg

Skeletal remains of a mosasaur were found in this general area several years ago.