Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park contains the remains of one of the most unusual fossil forests in the world.

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

Until recently, I’ve never taken the time to stop at the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park although many of my friends assured me I’d enjoy it. However, with our trip to Ancient Lakes, I was determined to rectify that issue.

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park contains the remains of one of the most unusual fossil forests in the world. It was set aside as a historic preserve in the 1930s after highway construction crews working on the Vantage Road unearthed what proved to be some of the rarest forms of petrified wood ever found. Located one mile north of Vantage, near the geographic center of Washington State, the park is now a registered national natural landmark.

A Peek at Ancient Petroglyphs in Central Washington
Spiritual beings or shamans on these rocks?

Highway workers began finding petrified wood in the area as early as 1927, but the significance of the site wasn’t recognized until 1931, after a chance observation made by geologist George F. Beck, a professor at what was then Central Washington College of Education in Ellensburg (now Central Washington University). Beck had been driving on the Vantage Road along the Columbia River one day when he noticed a man coming down from the hills carrying a large piece of petrified wood. Beck quickly organized an initial excavation in the area. He and his students eventually identified dozens of species of prehistoric trees at the site, including the first known samples of petrified ginkgo.

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Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park contains the remains of one of the most unusual fossil forests in the world.

Steve Weileman

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Enjoying a bit of warmth on a cold clear winter's evening on the Olympic Coast. We don't get many days like this in the winter. ...

Setting up camp at Toleak Beach on the Washington coast. We took advantage of the clear but cold winter weather and hiked in the day before our #COASST bird survey. ...

Snug Harbor Cannery on the southern half of Chisik Island. I spent a few years guiding out of the Alaskan treasure. ...

Just published our latest adventure - Hit and Run at Bear Creek - You can find the link in my bio up top. ...

At the mouth of the Columbia River stands the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Still active, she’s been guiding mariners since 1856. ...

A multitude of grey defines Lake Crescent during our latest #COASST survey. ...

The old Navy torpedo warehouse located on the grounds of Washington’s Manchester State Park. ...

While out dodging the rain showers, came across this beautiful Amanita muscaria near camp. The cap was a big as a dinner plate! ...

During our recent science trip to Suiattle River for the Wild and Scenic River Project, we were treated to these wonderful views. Here we're enjoying the winter's day with Mt. Baker in the background. ...

Our collection site for the Wild and Scenic River project. We grabbed river samples as well as tested ph, dissolved O2 and other data points. Turned out to be a great day in the field. ...

Heading out to start the Winter series of collection for the Wild and Scenic River project for Adventure Scientist. ...

These Nootka Rose caught my eye in camp this morning. Sitting here enjoying the fire listening to the geese overhead as they fly south. ...

Bear Canyon just outside Morton Washington is a little pocket of pristine wilderness. ...

Theresa doing her best to imitate the North Head Lighthouse. ...

A bridge span over the Green River. I love the contrast between the texture of the bridge and the fall colors of the background. ...

Here's a sunset from our recent #COASST bird survey at First Beach. The next day it poured rain. I measured over two inches just that afternoon. ...

Vantage

I’m sure everyone is familiar with the adage, “blink and you’ll miss it.” Well, nothing could be more true when applied to the small community of Vantage which is nestled on the west shore of the Columbia River where Hwy 90 crosses. The 2000 census put the population at around 70 people. But what this place lacks in people is more than makes up in charm and beauty.

Before the first bridge was constructed to cross the Columbia River was built, a small ferry was operated here starting in 1914. Only two cars could be carried at a time, but despite chains, blocks and brakes the ferry lost the vehicles and occupants on more than one occasion. Finally, in 1927 the ferry was pulled from service with the completion of the bridge. I can’t help but imagine that the bridge was in direct response to the lost vehicles.

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