There are lots of areas recommended you not venture into. When I was visiting the Blue Mesa area a couple of young male visitors where taking photo's. There were many signs stating "Area Beyond Sign Closed ~Do Not Enter" They were taking a huge risk in getting a photo next to a petrified log that was balancing on a mesa. It was dangerous because the ground could give any time. I reminded them they could easily fall. So they finished up there photos and moved on to the next area.
There are walkways that are not the safest because of erosion of gravel that falls onto the walkway. Photo two show how steep this walkway is and if you slip off, you'll fall into the canyon.
There are many areas within the Blue Mesa that do not have any safety rails, so respect the area and keep an eye on your kids. Stay on the paths they provide.
As well as the many huge logs, there are much smaller pieces of petrified wood to be seen here, and the temptation to pick one up as a souvenir of your visit, while understandable, must be resisted. The main reason for the park’s formation was to ensure the protection of the wood because of its value to geologic history. To help protect the wood the park is open only during daylight hours. Collecting samples of this or any other natural, archaeological or historical object is forbidden by Federal Law in the US. It's also forbidded to relocate any artifact as doing so changes the natural course of events and distorts our perceptions of the area.
But if you would like such a souvenir, you can buy petrified wood mined from areas outside the park in the Visitor Centre and in several shops around the park and in nearby Holbrook – just look out for the signs by the road as you drive.
There are pamphlets given out to all tourists to forewarn not to take any petrified wood. It says a piece in the gift shop costs $5 while the fine if caught is over $325. They are serious and advise other tourists to report any site of people taking rock pieces. There have been thousands of pounds taken over the years. The Park SErvice calculates they still "lose" 2,000 pounds of rock a month. WOW. There are similar fines for walking on ruins, destroying natural features, of taking Indians artifacts.
When visiting the Petrified National Forest , make sure you do not take any of the petrified wood out with you! Before entering the park, the ranger asks you if have any petrified wood in your car and they may inspect your car before you leave. Although in our case, they did not check our car (maybe because my innocent smile was enough? Hehehe)
On top of these, you are not allowed to take out anything else from the forest such as fossils, rocks, plants and even animals!
My friend VTer BruceDunning of my beloved Kansas City wrote: " I read they "lose" 20,000 pounds of petrified wood pieces annually to theft. Too bad."
So, let's all help in preserving this natural wonder!
Well, I guess his is clear to al lof you that the petrified wood in the park stays there were it is and that you are not allowed to take it with you as souvenier. You can buy wood at the parks souvenier shop.
There are high penalties for stealing it and there are controls for this reason.
As for any other trip in Arizona, especially in the summer, make sure you drink plenty of water and bring some with you. Because of the low humidity in Arizona you do not realize how much you perspire.
There are several types of animals in the Arizona Desert that can be harmful to you. Leaving designated areas increase the chances you will encounter them. For more information on these animals see my Arizona Warnings and Dangers Tips.
Please don't take any of the petrified wood. There are a lot of commercial stores right outside of the Park that will sell you specimens.
The Rangers do keep an eye on vistors. They have very powerful biniculars and can see for miles. Further more, visitors are asked to call a number and report you. I think the fine was $5,000.00 and possible jail time.
Don't take home any 'free' souvenirs.
Federal law prohibits collection or removal of petrified wood or any natural, archeological, or historical object from its setting.
Violators will be fined, imprisoned, or both. Rock shops in nearby communities sell petrified wood collected from private lands outside the park.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
This is the main wash in the area. The Santa Fe railroad parallels it. Rains - not necessarily local - can occur suddenly, turning these washes into raging torrents with a flow the consistency of liquid concrete - the infamous flashflood.
To help preserve the natural beauty of the Petrified Forest National Park please stay in the designated areas and only walk on designated trails.