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Stonerose Interpretive Center
and Fossil Site
Founders Wes Wehr, Bert Chadick, Madeline Perry, Gary Anderson, Richard Slagle, Klifton Frazier[1]
Founded 1989
Headquarters Republic, Washington, USA
Staff Catherine Brown, Director/Editor
Karl Volkman, Collections Manager
Focus Fossils
Florissantia quilchenensis, Stonerose Interpretive Center Collection, 2007
Location of Republic, Washington

Established in 1989,[2] the Stonerose Interpretive Center and Fossil Site is an Eocene Epoch fossil site and accompanying interpretive center, located in Republic, Washington, part of the Okanagan Highland. The fossils are from organisms that lived in the area nearly 50 million years ago when the area that is now the city of Republic was part of an ancient lake. The old lake's bottom layers are now volcanic ash hardened into sedimentary rock, becoming fine-grained tuffaceous shale. The fossils include various, and some extinct, insects, fish, leaves and twigs, as well as bird feathers.[3] The Republic upland lacustrine fossil beds are significant as they represent the earliest known records of the Rosaceae (rose family) and Aceraceae (maple family).[4]

The Boot Hill Fossil Site, located along Knob Hill Road, Ferry County, was first discovered in 1977 by artist Wesley Wehr and paleontologist Kirk R. Johnson. Since then, more than 200 species have been found in fossilized form.[5] The fossil site is a short walk away from the interpretive center. Public digging is permitted with a permit.[6] Visitors may retain up to three fossil pieces per person per day, though significant finds must be left at the site.[7]

The fossilized Florissantia quilchenensis, a flower from an extinct cocoa tree and a member of the Malvaceae family, is Stonerose's logo. Found by Lisa Barksdale, former Stonerose curator, and Wehr, at the time a paleobotanist and Burke Museum curator, it was featured in the National Geographic Magazine, July 2002.[8]

Both the interpretive center and the fossil site are owned and operated by the Friends of Stonerose Fossils, a non-profit organization.[1]


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