- Ellensburg, WA
- Site Type:
- Museums, Parks and Recreation
- New Deal Agency:
- Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
- National Park Service
- Quality of Information:
- Site Survival:
While constructing central Washington’s Vantage Highway in 1927, road workers uncovered the fossil remains of a diverse petrified forest. Over several years, local geologist George Beck advocated for the need to create a state park for preservation purposes. That goal was achieved in 1935 and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees began work to realize Beck’s vision.
From 1935 through 1938, the CCC developed the park. This work included unearthing and protecting the petrified logs in the park area as well as building structures for the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. The National Park Service designed the structures and guided the CCC development of the park facilities. The distinctive stone building they constructed served as a trailside museum, caretaker’s housing, and public restrooms. Using the same style, the CCC enrollees constructed a garage on site as well.
As one of the park’s interpretive plaque states: “. . . the CCC helped fulfill Professor Beck’s vision of preserving this rare fossil forest for the public to enjoy and explore.” The Ginkgo Petrified Forest is a registered National Natural Landmark.
"Ginkgo Petrified Forest/Wanapum Recreation Area," Washington State Parks website. Viewed April 27, 2023. https://www.parks.state.wa.us/288/Ginkgo-Petrified-Forest
"State Parks Reopens 'Trailside Museum' at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park," Washington State Parks Press Release: June 10, 2019. Viewed April 27, 2023. https://www.parks.wa.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=512
Site originally submitted by Jamie Ackerman-Harvie on April 30, 2023.
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