Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument is so named because it is located just outside Hagerman, Idaho. A stage coach route passed this way in the late nineteenth century and Stanley Hageman opened a general store in 1892. When the post office was established, the name got misspelled and Hageman became Hagerman. The headquarters of the national monument is situated in the center of town. The town is tiny, but the monument headquarters does it's best to hide by having the most ineffective signage imaginable.
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument is important for several reasons. One that I was unaware of until I visited was that a branch of the Oregon Trail passed through and you can still find some of the tracks of the wagons. Obviously, as one can guess from it's name, the national monument's primary purpose is to protect the treasure trove of fossilized remains of prehistoric creatures that are buried there. Unfortunately, visitors are not actually able to see many real fossils. The vast majority of the finds have been moved to other locations. The very small park headquarters has a few reproductions and a bit of informative literature, but, all in all it is grossly inadequate. In fact, I would rank Hagerman Fossil Beds at the very bottom of all of the national parks and monuments that I have visited to this point in my life. I presume that the place is so far away from the main tourist routes, that somebody up the ladder has decided that Hagerman Fossil Beds does not need to concern itself with educating the public. That is way too bad, because there is a fascinating story to be told of strange creatures and dramatic changes in climate that very directly impacted the people who lived here.