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Fossil Exploration

  • Grant County People Mover 229 Southeast Dayton Street John Day, OR, 97845 United States (map)

The John Day Basin has an extraordinary geologic history, and evidence of the Northwest’s changing ecosystems through time is abundant throughout the region. Come visit Oregon Paleo Lands Institute (OPLI), located near the Wheeler County Courthouse in Fossil, Oregon. There you will see displays of rocks and fossil from around the Wheeler County area. You will be shown what fossils to look for and how to recover them from hillsides. After learning about fossils, you will have the opportunity to dig for treasures of your own at the local fossil beds behind the high school.

Karen Masshoff will lead the group’s tour through time and Fossil. Karen is a native Oregonian and teacher. She has been living in the Fossil area since 1989 and has been involved with OPLI since then.


Hosts: Karen Masshoff

Suitability: Children welcome, great for the family.

Difficulty: Involves short walks and standing for periods of time.

Things to Bring

Participants should wear sturdy shoes or boots for walking and standing, as well as attire suitable for a day hike. This will be a rain or shine event, so depending on the weather, a jacket, hat with a brim, sunglasses and sunscreen would be beneficial. Bring a refillable water bottle, sack lunch, a camera, nature journal, and a sense of adventure

Earlier Event: August 4
Blues Crew Work Party: TBD
Later Event: August 7
Nature Kids: Geology Rocks!