(By Mariana Cabezuelo) Some 150 athletes will participate tomorrow in an unprecedented experience that combines sport and tourism in the Petrified Forests National Park and Natural Monument, since they will be able to run along the trails of the Patagonian steppe in the Santa Cruz town of Jaramillo, in the framework of the Santa Cruz Recorre program that proposes sporting events in national protected areas to promote them.
The event will be held at the site that has an area of more than 78,000 hectares, where the Petrified Forests Natural Monument is located, which preserves one of the most important concentrations of fossil flora in Argentina with araucaria trunks more than 30 meters high. high and where birds such as the giant great horned owl and mammals such as foxes, Patagonian piches and guanacos live.
“Santa Cruz Recorre is a program of the Ministry of Production through the Ministry of Tourism that proposes sporting events in national protected areas with the aim of highlighting them, showing them in a different way and in turn the athletes become ambassadors or promoters of these spaces,” Pablo Godoy, Secretary of Tourism of Santa Cruz, explained to Télam.
The official indicated that Santa Cruz Recorre has already been carried out in Monte León and in the Río Gallegos Coastal Reserve and now the experience will be opened in the “Petrified Forests, which is a site that has grown a lot in recent years in infrastructure, in its status went from a Natural Monument to a National Park.”
“It is a place that tells the geological history of Santa Cruz, which attracts not only researchers, scientists, students, but is visited by a significant number of tourists who come to our province,” he stated.
Godoy anticipated that this edition of Santa Cruz Recorre “proposes to discover Petrified Forests and that together we achieve tourism development around protected areas with sustainable activities.”
In this case, he highlighted the possibility of running along trails in a National Park that “preserves the integrity and permanence of fossil deposits, especially conifers from the Jurassic, and archaeological and historical sites that evidence human occupation during the Holocene, when populations of hunters and gatherers inhabited the area.
About 150 million years ago, during the Upper Middle Jurassic Period, the area occupied by this park had a stable climate of great humidity that allowed the development of gigantic trees, among which ancient relatives of the pehuenes or araucarias stood out.
With the volcanic eruptions, at the beginning of the Cretaceous and the beginning of the uplift of the Andes mountain range, the Patagonian territory was buried with ash and lava, with which the forests petrified.
With an area of 78,543 hectares, the protected area is comprised of the Petrified Forests Natural Monument (15,000 hectares) recognized in 1954 and the Jaramillo National Park (63,543 hectares), created by law on December 27, 2012.
The park is located 152 kilometers from Jaramillo, in the northeast of Santa Cruz, on the central plateau in the Deseado Massif.
On site, a Visitor Center has a museum, restrooms and the beginning of a self-guided double-loop pedestrian interpretive trail of 2,000 meters in total length, with a short option of 600 meters.
The most representative formations are Bajo Pobre, La Matilde, where the petrified forest is located, Baqueró and Madre e Hija, a volcano that lost its characteristics and is now a hill 405 meters high, the highest point in the plateau area. .
Arnaldo Dalmasso, mayor of the National Park, which has been occupying a new building since June, told Télam that they were “working to enable the Mother and Daughter trail by mid-October at the latest to make the visit more extensive, to have more offers and to enable a tourist guide that we don’t have today.
This trail will have a medium-high difficulty, with an extension of 1,700 meters round trip, to reach approximately 400 meters from the hill.
Dalmasso clarified that camping is not possible at the site and the only option to spend the night, exceptionally, is to have a self-sustaining vehicle to stay in the parking lot, at the same time that he recommended that visitors bring drinks and food because there is no provision either.
The size of the trunks draws attention as they mostly exceed one meter in diameter, highlighting one that exceeds 2.80 meters, as well as that “some preserve their integrity without having expanded, and one of them can be found of great length 35 meters,” he highlighted.
The high season is enabled every October 1 and extends until April, with visiting hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and between the months of April to September, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and there is no admission charge.
Santa Cruz Recorre established a quota of 150 athletes so that they can live the experience of carrying out a “cross-type” activity on the trails of the National Park with two distances of 5 kilometers participatory and 11 kilometers competitive.
To do this, this Sunday the 17th, participants must register between 9:30 and 11, given that the start will be at 12 and the awards will be at 2:00 p.m.
The site is reached by national route 3 and provincial route 49, with which the junction is at kilometer 2,074, 234 kilometers south from Caleta Olivia, or 600 kilometers north from Río Gallegos.
I am an author and journalist who has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. I currently work as a news editor at a major news website, and my focus is on covering the latest trends in entertainment. I also write occasional pieces for other outlets, and have authored two books about the entertainment industry.