Backed by a powerful congressman, supporters of national monument status for the John Day Fossil Beds obtained its establishment in 1975. Four of them secured Representative Al Ullman's interest in 1967, and persevered to increase the statewide appeal of their proposal. They met little local opposition in doing so, even though acreage in the proposed monument eventually doubled in size over what it had been in 1969.
Despite the unquestioned national significance of the proposed monument's paleontological resources, "feasibility factors" delayed congressional authorization of the park. One stemmed from mutual distrust between the state and National Park Service Director George Hartzog, something which resulted from a failed attempt to establish the Oregon Dunes National Seashore in 1966. Another involved coordination between the federal and state governments, because implementation of Ullman's legislation depended on planning done by the NPS through its regional, state, and group offices. Once the groundwork for land acquisition and development of visitor facilities fell into place, however, members of Oregon's congressional delegation brought about authorization of the monument by assisting passage of an omnibus bill.
Last Updated: 30-Apr-2002