Escalante Petrified Forest State Park is a Utah state park that covers an area of over 2,000 acres and features a variety of petrified wood. The park is located in Garfield County and was established in 1963. The park is known for its many petrified logs, which were formed by the process of petrification. During this process, tree trunks and branches become encased in rock and mineral sediment over time.
The Escalante Petrified Forest began forming approximately 40-60 million years ago when the area was covered by an ancient lake. As trees died and fell into the lake, they were covered by sediment and fossilized. Over time, the fossils hardened and turned to stone, creating a unique landscape that is now part of the park. The petrified wood is often found in the form of logs, branches and stumps, as well as smaller pieces that were broken off. In some cases, the petrified wood has been eroded away by wind and water, leaving only the rock that was once the tree.
Native American History
The Escalante Petrified Forest State Park has a long history of human occupation. The area was home to the Anasazi, Fremont and Paiute Native American tribes who used the petrified wood for tools and other purposes. Artifacts from these early inhabitants have been discovered in the park, including pottery shards and arrowheads. These artifacts provide insight into the lifestyle and culture of these tribes. Today, Native American families still live in the area and can be seen visiting the park as part of their cultural heritage. The petrified wood is also a reminder of the legacy these tribes left behind.
Explorers and Settlers
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park was first discovered by European explorers 1776. The area was officially explored by Spanish missionary Silvestre Velez de Escalante and his team in 1776, who named the area after themselves. In 1864, John Wesley Powell also explored the area and named it "The Wonderland of Rocks".
In the early 1900s, settlers began to move into the area, establishing small farms and towns. The petrified wood was highly sought after by these settlers and was often used for building materials. As a result, much of the petrified wood that once existed in the park has since been removed.
In the late 1800s, the area was homesteaded by Mormon settlers. The Mormons used the petrified wood for firewood and also built a chapel in the park that is still standing today. Mormon pioneers had a major impact on the landscape of Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, as they built fences and roads around their farms and tended to the land. The chapel, along with several other artifacts from this era, are still visible today and provide insight into the lifestyles of the Mormon settlers who lived in the area. The Mormon settlement in the park is a reminder of their important role in shaping the history of this area.
Creation of the Park
The Escalante Petrified Forest State Park was officially established in 1963. The park features a variety of activities, including camping, hiking and fishing. Visitors to the park can also explore the petrified wood formations that make up the park, as well as the fossils and artifacts from early inhabitants. Picnic areas and interpretive displays are also available for visitors. The park is managed by the Utah Department of Natural Resources, which works to preserve the natural beauty of the area. In addition to its petrified wood formations, the park is home to a variety of wildlife including deer, elk and birds. Visitors can also discover breathtaking views of nearby canyonlands while exploring the park.
The Escalante Petrified Forest State Park is a unique landscape that has been formed over millions of years. It is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts who want to experience nature at its finest. Whether you are looking for an outdoor adventure or just a peaceful place to relax, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park has something for everyone. It is a great place to explore and learn more about the history of this unique landscape.