Each post in this YoParks! series will feature an interview with a National Park ranger or historian. My hope is to spread the word about our amazing National Park system and encourage you to visit a park near you! Today’s YoParks! post features Petrified Forest National Park.
9 Questions with Sarah Herve, Deputy Chief of Interpretation at Petrified Forest National Park
What is your name and how long have you been a historian for the park? My name is Sarah Herve and I am the Deputy Chief of Interpretation at Petrified Forest National Park. I have worked here for 6 years.
When did your site become a National Park and what role does it play in American History? Petrified Forest became a National Monument in 1906 and a National Park in the 1960s after the inclusion of large areas within the painted desert.
What is a fun fact about your park? 225 Million Years ago this area was in the tropics and had rivers running through it on the same scale as the modern Amazon river!
When planning a trip to visit how much time should someone allow? Are there any special events coming up at your park? Visitors should plan on at least an hour but could easily spend several days enjoying the park. Are there any special events coming up at your park? The park is now offering special courses through the Petrified Forest Field Institute. // Greg Note: My family ended up spending close to 5 hours at the park. We took our time driving through the park stopping at most all of the sights along the way.//
Why should someone visit your National Park site? The park is extremely beautiful but also full of very interesting stories from Late Triassic paleontology to 13,000 years of human history. We are also the only National Park that preserves a section of Rt 66.
What is a little known fact or tip about your park that someone cannot find online? This park has lots of fun facts like that. Albert Einstein visited with his wife in the 1930s (we have pictures), John Muir lived near the park at Adamana in 1906 for a month and explored it thoroughly. There is an ongoing, and very active scientific research going on in the park both archaeologically and paleontologically.
What is the most common question you get asked? Where is the bathroom? And who cut the logs? The answer is: nobody did, they break apart naturally.
Now for the travel planning nitty gritty: Do you have restrooms at the visitor’s center? Are there food options? Is there a fee to enter your park? Is there a gift shop? Yes, we have restrooms at the visitor’s center and food options. The fee to enter the park is currently $10.00 but is going up to $20.00 in Oct. We have 2 gift shops and 2 bookstores. One at each end of the park.
Visit Petrified Forest National Park!
Petrified Forest National Park was one of my “bucket list” parks. I have been fascinated with these trees and the park for a long time. So when we planned our trip last summer to explore the Colorado Plateau, I made sure we stopped there.
But even with the anticipation of this park, it caught my family by surprise with how large the park is, how diverse the sights are, and just how plain awesome it is to see things that are thousands of years old!
I was pretty excited about my pictures but they still do not do it justice. I was crazy inspired by the sights and the textures found in the park. If you do make it out to Petrified Forest National Park, be sure to stop at Blue Mesa (my favorite) as well as the small marker designating where historic Route 66 is.
Tell me your story!
Have you visited the Petrified Forest National Park? Tell me about your experiences in the comments! Have a question about this park? Fire away in the comments and I will try to get it answered for you!