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Posted on: June 10, 2019

State Parks reopens ‘trailside museum’ at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

New electric vehicle charging station available at the site

OLYMPIA – June 10, 2019 – Visitors to Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park can now visit a “trailside museum” before hiking the park’s famed collection of petrified logs — all while charging their electric vehicles.

Park staff recently installed new exhibits inside a historic building at the entrance to the Trees of Stone interpretive trails, which provide access to one of the most diverse fossil forests in North America. The park and museum are located 2.6 miles west of Vantage on the Vantage Highway (driving directions). Both are open from 6:30 a.m. to dusk seven days a week.

The striking stone building, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression, included housing for a caretaker as well as restrooms and a small display space known as the trailside museum. For unknown reasons, the museum portion of the building was mothballed — likely in the 1960s. In 2016, State Parks staff began a project to restore and reopen the space.

Over the course of two years, State Parks maintenance staff painstakingly restored the display area, replacing and refinishing intricate water-damaged woodwork, reroofing the structure and repairing a damaged skylight. Great care was taken to preserve and replicate the historic details of the structure, which the National Park Service designed while overseeing development of the state park in the 1930s.

The new exhibits inside the trailside museum were developed using proceeds from sales of the State Parks specialty license plate. The exhibits explain the formation of the petrified forest and its unearthing in the early 1930s by George Beck, who was a geology professor at Central Washington University back when it was known as the Washington Normal School.

State Parks also recently added an Envision Solar EV ARC™ solar-powered electric vehicle charging station at  the site. The station provides a key charging opportunity for travelers on I-90 in an area where few other units exist. In addition to the EV charging station at Ginkgo, State Parks recently installed one at Daroga State Park in Orondo.

In the coming years and as funding becomes available, State Parks hopes to make additional improvements to the unique site.

About Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park
The 7,000-acre park features 27,000 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Wanapum Reservoir along the Columbia River. Ginkgo Petrified Forest is a registered National Natural Landmark, a designation of the National Park Service. Across Interstate 90, south of Vantage, the park offers camping at the Wanapum Recreation area with full RV hookup sites, hiker-biker campsites and restrooms. For more information about the park, visit:

News media contacts:
Kevin Lieske, Interpretive Specialist, (590) 859-9016
Sam Wotipka, Exhibit Development Coordinator, (360) 902-8665
Toni Droscher, Communications Office, (360) 902-8604


About Washington State Parks

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.

News release number: 19-040


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