Petrified Forest in Egypt - Creative Commons via Wikipedia
CAIRO - 12 June 2017: The Petrified Forest in Egypt is unlike any normal forest. It is characterized by stems, trunks of fossilized trees, logs and a few wild animals.
Located on a relatively small area of seven square kilometers outside Maadi district, 30 kilometers away from downtown Cairo, the rare geological site was declared a natural heritage site by law under Decree 944 in 1989.
According to the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, it “consists of layers of sand, gravel, mud and rocky wood with a thickness of 70-100 meters,” sections of cylindrical shapes can be seen across the area.
The story behind the formation of this understated forest goes back to the Oligocene epoch (a geologic epoch of the Paleogene Period and dates back to about 30 million years ago), when an ancient branch of the Nile carried trees along and deposited them in the area. The trees were buried and changed in rocks, noted the agency’s website.
The Petrified Forest is also known as Gabal el-Khashab, or Wood Hill.
Yet the understated forest has been increasingly threatened by expanding construction projects around it.
On Monday, the head of the nature conservation department at the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, Ahmed Salama, affirmed that a short-term plan is currently being implemented to preserve and develop the fossilized forest reserve. A contract has also been signed with a security company to protect the reserve from transgressions.
Salama noted that “areas of trees in the open air museum, as well as the location of the camping area, pergolas, a special waiting area for cars and other development works in the reserve have been pinpointed,” in order to provide visitors with a real experience to enjoy the desert nature of the reserve.
The plan also includes providing water and electricity, as well as a sewage system, to the park.
Signs on the roads will be put up to offer directions to the reserve, starting from the Ring Road.