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Re: Petrified Forest Grows By 4,265 Acres

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avatar Petrified Forest Grows By 4,265 Acres
January 06, 2014 11:47AM
The National Park Service, The Conservation Fund and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) recently celebrated the addition of 4,265 acres to Petrified Forest National Park.

Purchased by The Conservation Fund in January 2013 with a substantial contribution from NPCA, the lands are full of Late Triassic resources, including rare dinosaur fossils. The National Park Service utilized the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – America’s premier conservation program – to acquire the property.

Formerly known as the McCauley Ranch, the acquired acreage lies east of the historic remains of Puerco Pueblo and connects lands already protected within the park. The protection of this property not only preserves the natural viewshed that visitors experience as they drive on the main road through the park, it also secures many fossil-producing sites that have already proven to be ideal locations for exciting new paleontological discoveries.

During the summer of 2013, researchers unearthed a well preserved, two-foot- long phytosaur skull, a distant ancestor of the modern crocodile, on the property. They also uncovered a new find for Petrified Forest National Park, a Doswellia, which is a close relative to the phytosaur. A rich layer of fossil material was identified below the bones that could be the bottom of an ancient pond. Continued excavation will help to determine the pond’s ecosystem and identify the kinds of prehistoric fish, amphibians, reptiles and plants that once lived there.

“This is an important milestone in the National Park Service’s joint effort with our partners to protect the rich natural and cultural landscape in and around Petrified Forest National Park," said Director Jarvis. “By helping us acquire the McCauley Ranch, our partners at The Conservation Fund and the National Parks Conservation Association have taken another important step toward fulfilling the vision Congress outlined in the Petrified Forest Expansion Act of 2004.

“On behalf of the American people, we thank The Conservation Fund and NPCA. This extension of Petrified Forest’s boundaries will allow us to increase our knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Arizona's Painted Desert environment and its archeological and fossil wonders."
Re: Petrified Forest Grows By 4,265 Acres
January 14, 2014 01:10PM
Given the drought here in California, made the long drive down to Arizona last spring with the park my main objective. Although my first visit, I've wanted to visit for decades but tis a long ways with many other fascinating places especially in Utah. As someone that has seen a good part of our Southwest Colorado Plateau country, the colorful geology of Petrified Forest National Park is now one of my favorite places. Have looked at topos for these new areas that is huge at about 8 square miles. Lots of interesting landscapes one can get some idea of by roaming about on Google Earth. It is one of the best of our Western parks for finding sizeable areas to backpack into where there have not been any footprints for decades. Utterly huge pristine areas no one has walked about in much less taken pictures of. And yeah there is abundant petrified wood.







http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/2014 01:13PM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: Petrified Forest Grows By 4,265 Acres
January 14, 2014 04:33PM
Quote
DavidSenesac

It is one of the best of our Western parks for finding sizeable areas to backpack into where there have not been any footprints for decades. Utterly huge pristine areas no one has walked about in much less taken pictures of. And yeah there is abundant petrified wood.


Nice photos.

In regards to backpacking, are there water sources readily available near where one could setup camp, or does one have to pack-in their water like many of the Southwest's desert parks?

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Re: Petrified Forest Grows By 4,265 Acres
January 14, 2014 07:01PM
Quote
plawrence
...Nice photos. In regards to backpacking, are there water sources readily available near where one could setup camp, or does one have to pack-in their water like many of the Southwest's desert parks?
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Well if one visits during the dry hot summer vacation mindset most Americans tend to, yep one is likely to end up carrying water. And that is no fun unless the destinationis short.

Like other high desert areas, it is an arid area. Storm stream courses tend to be sandy well drained so water after rains probably rapidly sink into all but the few primary seasonal water courses. My strategy in such places is to backpack late in the rainy season during spring while storms still provide areas of water. Pretty common to have pooling atop flat sandstone rock areas that then takes several days to evaporate. There is a backpacking trailhead policy I find rather annoying of only being allowed to park in a few designated spots some of which are miles apart. Can't they just ask people where abouts they think they will park, take car model type and licence plate numbers then let people park anywhere! Especially since most days there are no backpacking groups at all. Supposed to camp at least a mile from roads and thus they have marked areas on their maps. However if one actually measures as the bird flies from those boundaries to roads, taint no mile in many cases but rather more than a mile to the parking spots. In any case there are abundant places to backpack into that are actually less than a mile from the road. So one could stash pack beside a road, park at legal spot, walk along the road to that spot, pick up pack, then just hike in beyond a boundary quickly. The new areas allow a few miles of hiking beyond roads. Areas at the north end into the Painted Desert that have lots of nicely colorful geology appear incredible empty, and doubt hardly any groups visit more than a tiny part of that area, mainly a few spots others have talked up.



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/2014 07:26PM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: Petrified Forest Grows By 4,265 Acres
January 14, 2014 09:36PM
Thanks for the additional information. So there's no known fresh water springs out in the backcountry were one can fill up with water.

(And when I backpack or day hike long distances in the desert, it's always between late fall and early spring (I ain't crazy)).

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