The Park Service is working hard to create a much-needed campground inside Petrified Forest National Park, using entrance fee revenue during the next few years in hopes of it opening in 2021.
You may have seen the construction near Painted Desert Inn this summer. That was the first phase of constructing a campground at Chinde Point, located off the very north part of the road through the park, and not too far from Interstate 40.
Phase 1 is still underway but in a lull, awaiting a state permit to construct the sewer lift station. When complete, there will be electricity and sewer service at Chinde Point, and the existing leach field will be abandoned.
Phase 2 has been awarded to the same contractor — Marsh Development, Inc., of Tucson, Arizona — and will include detailed design of the campground and installation of the remaining underground utilities. Design is underway now and construction is expected to follow on the completion of Phase 1.
Phase 3 is funded for 2019 and will include building shower additions to the existing restroom and creation of the main campground road.
Phase 4 is scheduled for 2020 and will include all the campsite amenities and landscaping. If all goes well, the campground will open for visitors by the summer of 2021.
The project is phased partly because it is funded by entrance fees. Petrified Forest, as with many parks across the country, is permitted to keep 80% of the receipts collected at the entrance stations for use in the park. Projects must support visitor services. Phasing the project allows the cost to be spread over several years of income.