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New lands are open for exploring

The Petrified Forest National Park has announced that 14,650 acres of park expansion lands are now open.

The lands were acquired by the park from the Bureau of Land Management (4,800 acres) and by purchases from willing private sellers (9,850 acres) since the Petrified Forest Expansion Act was passed in 2004.

One of the areas newly opened is Billings Gap, which is a route between mesas that contains fossil remains of approximately 220-million-year-old clam beds. The park staff have already found interesting paleontological finds in this area, which can be accessed on foot. There are no established trails in this wide, open terrain but route information and maps are available on the park’s website ( or at the park’s visitor centers.

The park is about 80 miles west of Gallup off I-40.