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
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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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Looking down on our campground from atop Tower Rock. It's a straight 2000' straight drop from here. ...

Driving up to Mosquito Meadows I noticed a dark shadow and gap just off the forest road. This small but picturesque waterfall on Pinto Creek was the reward for pulling off to investigate.⁠ ...

Heading out to Gifford Pinchot National Forest to explore a few new areas. ...

After a week of sitting on the shoreline waiting for the weather on Augustine Island and her volcano, we finally had our chance to paddle over to the mainland. Fortune smiled at us that day! ...

A kayaker making his way across Coldwater Lake with the crater of Mt. St. Helens in the background. ...

On May 16, 1898, the North Head Lighthouse was put into service as the primary navigation aid at the mouth of the Columbia River and still stands as a sentinel overlooking this treacherous body of water, the confluence between the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. ...

This root was near our campsite. I was intrigued because it looks like an entire forest wrapped around it. ...

Mt. St. Helens seen from Windy Ridge. ...

Cispus River with Tower Rock in the background. Our camp was locate on the banks of the river. ...

River bank of the Cispus River inside the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. ...

Headed back to Mt. St. Helens for the weekend. Hoping to visit some of our favorite places as well as discover new ones. ...

Buck Creek is one of the many waterways that feed the Suiattle River. We spotted this view during our last Wild and Scenic Rivers fieldwork. ...

During our recent Wild and Scenic River Survey we had the opportunity to do a bit of exploring. Here's Buck Creek which drains into the Suiattle River. ...

Theresa taking a sample for the Wild and Scenic Rivers project with Adventure Scientist. We'll be heading out to the Suiattle River this weekend for another round of data. ...

Looking out over Crescent Bay from Tongue Point. We recently experienced the lowest tides in a decade here in Washington. ...

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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