Petrified Forest has hosted paleontologists from all over the country for the last 100 years. They may be researching animals of the late Triassic era, fossil leaves, petrified wood, climate change, or any number of questions that the late Triassic rocks can answer.
The animals available to research include early dinosaurs, early mammals, and the ancestors of today’s crocodiles who were common in the large river system that was here at that time. [Read more]
Petrified Forest is starting to be known for the wide range of its archeological resources, too. Clovis/Folsom sites (<7000 B.C.E.) with some of the earliest artifacts found in North America have been found at the park. A variety of Archaic (7000 B.C.E.–1500 B.C.E.) artifacts, too.
While Basketmaker sites (1500 B.C.E.–750 B.C.E.) have been found in the pre-expansion park, the eastern expansion lands have been found to be rich with these sites that are known for their pithouse structures and pre-pottery or early pottery artifacts.
There are early Basketmaker sites and late Basketmaker sites. There are also early and late Pueblo sites (750 B.C.E.–1600 C.E.), including some large ones of a hundred rooms or more, like Puerco Pueblo. [Read more]
Although Petrified Forest has been conducting a herpetological study for more than 20 years using seasonal staff, this summer represents the first time the park has ever had permanent staff specializing in natural resources.
Andy Bridges, who has been one of the seasonal staff in recent years, steps into the role of wildlife biologist and will begin determining what the park has in terms of natural resource data, coordinating the work of others in continuing inventory and monitoring activities, and representing the park on issues of natural resource protection.
Petrified Forest was first established as a National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. In the Monument’s earliest days, its development needs were supplied by the community of Adamana, where visitors would arrive by train, take horse-drawn coaches to see the petrified wood, and where the park’s earliest employees lived.
In the 1920’s, when more visitors were arriving by automobile, the Rainbow Forest Lodge building was built with housing behind it, as well as a house for the park’s superintendent on Agate Mesa.
The Rainbow Forest Lodge building, where the gift shop is today, is the same building, although it has been modified a great deal over the years and has lost its historic character. A few wood-framed buildings in the Rainbow Forest area and one at Crystal Forest were also built around this time. [Read more]