This Arizona Republic news article details sadly how some graves at the national park have been recently desecrated (click to enlarge)

These photos taken above show evidence of illegal petrified wood mining and illegal digging for indian artifacts (click to enlarge)

 

Petrified National Forest Expansion Plans

 

Patents to the initial fee lands which were to form the Milky Ranch were granted by the General Land Office in 1908, the same year New Mexico and Arizona Land Company was incorporated in the Territory of Arizona. The lands included the modern day Milky Ranch and also a checkerboard of sections across what is now the Petrified Forest National Park. An exchange with the Federal Government facilitated the creation of the current park early in the 1900's.

 

HNZ Milky Ranch is comprised of 50,000 acres adjacent to the Petrified Forest National Park. The land contains numerous cultural artifacts, prehistoric remnants and fossils.

 

The Milky Ranch, named for a tributary of the Little Colorado River, has always been leased for cattle grazing. Sporadically, the Milky lands have also been leased for mineral exploration.

 

Unfortunately, because of the cultural richness, the Milky Ranch has been subject to numerous thefts and desecrations. Illegal digs have been documented for years.

To aid in the protection of the land, the Petrified Forest National Park is anxious to acquire approximately 12 Sections of NZ's land containing the famous Stone Axe Indian ruin first explored by the Smithsonian Institute in 1901. The federal government has expressed interest n an exchange or cash for up to 7,680 acres of the Milky Ranch.

 

The Milky Ranch is the planned location for projects wind, solar, biomass and low head-hydro energy production as well as salt cavern storage of compressed air, natural gas, propane and diesel fuel.

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