ASHCROFT (NEWS1130) – A BC fossil bed described as a paleontology gold mine has been declared a heritage site by the provincial government.
    
Forests and Lands Minister Steve Thomson says the declaration will secure the future of the McAbee fossil site near Ashcroft, near Kamloops in the southern interior.
    
The government says the McAbee beds hold a wide array of fossils dating back as much as 56 million years, with many of the finds being entirely new to science.
    
McAbee is now a cliff face, but it was once the shore of an ancient lake and provided an ideal environment for creating fossils of everything from plants and insects to fish.
    
Meanwhile, the owner of a private fossil hunting business at the McAbee beds isn’t happy with the compensation the government is offering as part of the heritage declaration.
    
Robert Draychuck says the government’s offer is based on the area’s mineral values, but he also wants cash for the fossils, because they were part of a commercial enterprise.