Petrified Forest’s strangely beautiful landscape has attracted people for thousands of years, but it has only been the last 140 years that visitors have made a photographic record of their visits.
Park staff member William Gibson Parker has gleaned the best of these photographs, providing us a glimpse into the past, for his new book, Petrified Forest National Park.
The pages are filled with historic images from the park’s archives as well as the author’s personal collection. Look at these photos; look closely at the people. What brought them to this remote region? How might their adventures reflect your own explorations?
Discover the history and evolution of Petrified Forest through the eye of the camera. The book is beautiful and full of intriguing stories, provoking the reader to find their own connection with Petrified Forest National Park.
You can pre-order the book, available September 28, from the park’s non-profit partner Petrified Forest Museum Association.
The book is highlighted on its publisher’s website: “Petrified Forest National Park in Northeast Arizona was set aside in 1906 by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt to protect the scientifically important Mesozoic forests.
With a boundary encompassing 225,000 acres, the park protects not only the largest and most colorful deposits of petrified wood in the world but also significant archeological and ecological resources and other important fossils, like the oldest dinosaurs in North America.”
Arcadia Publishing goes on to say, “The park has been a crossroads for travelers and a destination for scientists, including Albert Einstein and John Muir. As a work site of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the only national park crossed by the famous Route 66, and a centerpiece of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 initiative, Petrified Forest National Park has a history that rivals that of more familiar national parks.”
The author, Dr. Bill Parker is a vertebrate paleontologist, currently the Chief of Resource Management at Petrified Forest National Park. He came to the park as a Physical Scientist, almost 20 years ago, to work on Triassic age archosaurs, study the distribution of these fossils in the Chinle Formation, determine when species appear or go extinct in relation to each other, writing up descriptions of fossils that we find in the park, some of which are new species.
Dr. Parker is also a historian for many years and describes in a compelling fashion Petrified Forest’s human stories.
The Park is Open (Partially)
Because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, park operations have been adjusted for the safety of staff and visitors.
Park hours are 8 am to 5 pm, and visitor centers and other facilities are open during those hours with only a limited number of people allowed inside at a time.
Painted Desert Inn is closed, and there is no wilderness camping. There are no interpretive programs, no guided hikes, and no cultural demonstrations at this time. The regular roadside stops and hiking trails are open. Masks and social distancing are encouraged.
You can check on current operations at www.nps.gov/pefo.