Mar 052014

Saturdays in March will be dedicated to celebrating Arizona Archeology and Heritage Awareness Month (AAHAM) at both Petrified Forest National Park and Homolovi Ruins State Park.
In its 32nd year, AAHAM is celebrated at historic parks and sites all over the state. The theme for 2014 is “From Desert to Mountain: Valuing Our Heritage.”
Starting this coming Saturday, both of the area parks will offer special events, including hikes, tours, presentations and activities.
On Saturdays, March 8, 15, 22 and 29, Homolovi State Park will offer tours to the historic Sunset Cemetery at the park. The tours are sponsored by Arizona State Parks, Homolovi Ruins State Park and the Hopi Tribe, and leave from the Park Visitor Center Museum on State Route 87 northeast of Winslow at 10 a.m.
A park ranger will give guided tours of a Mormon cemetery (1876-1888) that is all that remains of the five United Order Settlements of the early LDS church in the park.
The tours follow a gentle, approximately half-mile trail, and rangers suggest that participants bring water, a hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes and dress for the weather, which is usually cool and windy.
Other tours of nearby LDS pioneer sites are also available and the rangers at the visitor center will have more information.
A second tour is offered on Saturdays at the park. You can join a park ranger and explore a late 14th century ancestral Hopi pueblo, the Homolovi II Pueblo.
This tour is limited to 20 participants, so reservations are encouraged. The tour leaves the visitor center at 1:15 p.m. and rangers recommend participants dress in layers, and bring water, snacks and appropriate hiking gear. Inclement weather may postpone or cancel tours.
A tour fee of $5 and regular entrance fees apply. For more information about both tours, contact Kenn Evans at (928) 289-4106 or email him at
Petrified Forest National Park has a lot to celebrate with more than 13,000 years of human history and earlier paleontological sites located within the park.
From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. each Saturday this month kids can learn what it’s like to be an archeologist on a dig with the Sandbox Archeology program at the Painted Desert Visitor Center. A park ranger will lead the children as they get hands-on experience in excavating artifacts that reflect the park’s human history.
The Painted Desert Inn will be the site for Native American cultural demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
An easy walk at Puerco Pueblo leaves at 2 p.m. each Saturday. Walkers will explore the remnants of an ancestral Puebloan village. The trail is paved and the walk is about a half-kilometer, or three-tenths of a mile.
Today (March 5) and Wednesday, March 19, there will be a ranger-led, off-trail hike from Lacey Point into the Painted Desert to discover what are described as “some of the best petroglyphs in the park.”
The hike is a “moderately difficult” two-mile round trip and takes about two hours. Hikers should meet at Lacey Point, which is about five miles from the north entrance to the park. Rangers recommend good hiking shoes, water, a hat and sunscreen. The hike leaves from Lacey Point at 10 a.m.
On Wednesdays, March 12 and 26, a ranger will lead hikers along a portion of the now-abandoned Route 66 which runs through the park.
This moderate, two-mile round trip on America’s “Mother Road” will take about two hours to complete. Hikers will meet at the Painted Desert Visitor Center at 10 a.m. and will then caravan about six miles to where the hike begins.
The usual recommendations of water, good hiking boots, a hat and sunscreen also apply for this hike.
An archeology exhibit at the Painted Desert Inn will also be open every day throughout the month. The exhibit focuses on the thousands of years of human history in the park.
All the Petrified Forest events are free to participants, though the usual park entrance fee still applies.
For more information, contact Kip Woolford at (928) 524-6228, ext. 273.