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Waco may become part of National Parks system

Sept. 28, 2009

Ellie Caston's enthusiasm when telling the unique story of the Waco Mammoth Site is contagious, spinning a yarn of intrigue thousands of years ago when a herd of the giant creatures found themselves trapped in an unknown situation that tragically claimed the herd. As director of the Mayborn Museum at Baylor, Caston has worked with people from the city and throughout the community to tell that story. Now, that story is closer than ever to being told more broadly, as the Waco Mammoth Site, having already cleared the house, awaits Senate approval to become a national monument. In the meantime, the city is preparing the site to ready it for visitors to enjoy in the near future. Sharon Fuller is the park planner for the city:

There have been many phases along the way in the planning of the park, where someday visitors can view the bones in the excavated site. Beyond that, planners are expecting many of the amenities associated with a park or national monument visit. Visitors will be given guided tours of the site, in a new building designed to fit in with the surroundings. Ellie Caston:

Sharon Fuller says the setting will give people a real picture of the enormity of the creatures, whose name is descriptive of size today.

The building will house the centerpice of the park, the bones and the catwalk, and will be something visitors take notice of even while viewing the remains.

The building and the remains will be open to the public after the new year. While there's no timetable on when the Senate will vote on the proposal to make the Waco Mammoth Site a national monument, Caston said they have been given positive indications every step of the way from the National Park Service and other key players. If and when that day comes, Caston and others are excited to see a community treasure bring opened up to an expansive audience.

You can hear the first part of our look at the Waco Mammoth Site at kwbu.org. For KWBU news, I'm Derek Smith.

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