Petrified Forest National Park December 9, 1962

December 9, 2012 by  

Petrified Forest National Park December 9, 1962, On December 9, 1962, the Petrified Forest National Monument was officially established as a national park. The park extends over 146 square miles of northeastern Arizona and is named for its numerous fossils and petrified trees dating as far back as the Late Triassic period.

The Arizona Territorial Legislature had first requested that Congress grant the area national park status in 1895 when tourism and commercial interest in petrified wood were both on the rise. In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act, and the area was first declared a national monument.

Five people stand on a petrified log forming a tree bridge in the Petrified Forest of Arizona, ca.1900. Image courtesy of the California Historical Society Digital Archive and hosted by the University of Southern California Special Collections.

Since 1962, the National Park Service has worked to protect the land for future generations, but petrified wood is regularly stolen. Approximately 12 short tons of petrified wood are taken off the land illegally each year.

Petrified Forest Nat’l Monument, Arizona, April 13, 1952. Image courtesy of the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection at Indiana University.

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