The existence of this Petrified Forest has been know since the middle 1800’s, but only within the past four decades has it been developed and opened for the public. R.J. "Bob" and Shirl Schabilion acquired the “Petrified Forest” in August 1962. By example to their family and to others, they taught the values and practicalities that are to be found in conserving and preserving all of our natural resources -- and this was in a time long before the word “conservation” came into common use, as it is today.
The Mississippi Petrified Forest is a fascinating place, located in hills with ravines hollowed out by nature during the past century. The size of the petrified logs indicates that as living trees, these stone giants were over one hundred feet tall, and perhaps a thousand or more years old.
A roaring, thunderous, flood-swollen river snatched everything in its path. Flowing southward, it ripped and tore at the once magnificent trees. With the abating of this earth-changing force, the battered remnants of the trees finally began to sink, settling deeper into the watery ooze. Each fresh flood from the North brought more sand and silt to cover them. This continued for countless ages of time, ever more deeply burying the old trees. They slowly began to decay. Now the petrifaction process, turning once living trees into stone logs began.