Local NewsNews

Why Petrified Forest National Park deserves to be a destination, not just a detour

may not ring a bell, even though more than half a million people visited last year, according to National Park Service data.

“People come to Petrified Forest unintentionally, often. They’re on their way, typically, to or from the Grand Canyon or during spring break, they’re headed to spring training,” said park ranger Jessica Barnett.  

The park is located right off Interstate 40 in eastern Arizona, about 3 hours from Albuquerque International Sunport and 3.5 hours away from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport by car.

“The really great part of this park is there’s something for everyone,” Barnett said. “I think people don’t realize it when they come in. They pass it by because they’re like, “Hmm, petrified wood. What’s good about that?’ There’s so much more.”

Here’s what travelers should know about Petrified Forest, the latest national park in USA TODAY’s yearlong series.

Petrified Forest National Park's Jasper Forest may not look like a typical forest. Its trees are petrified.

What is special about Petrified Forest National Park?

Petrified Forest calls itself a Triassic park. It preserves more than 200 million years of history, including its namesake petrified wood. 

It’s the only place chindesaurus fossils have ever been found. Coelophysis fossils have also been discovered in the park, but dinosaurs only make up a fraction of the prehistoric life that once thrived across its more than 221,000 acres.

“Everything else is an ancient reptile or ancient mammal ancestor or ancient plants,” Barnett said. 

Visitors can see paleontologists work on a variety of fossils and artifacts at the park’s Museum Demonstration Lab or ask park rangers about Petrified Forest’s more modern history.

“We’re working on rehabilitating our prairie dog population, so maybe someday we’ll get to reintroduce the  which is the most endangered mammal in North America,” Barnett said. 

The park also preserves a portion of historic 

Source link :

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button