- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Great Sand Dunes National Park and PreserveIUCN Category II (National Park) Location Saguache County & Alamosa County, Colorado, USA Nearest city Alamosa Coordinates Coordinates: Area 84,670 acres (342.6 km2) Established September 13, 2004 Visitors 258,660 (in 2006) Governing body National Park Service
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is a United States National Park located in the easternmost parts of Alamosa County and Saguache County, Colorado, United States. Originally designated Great Sand Dunes National Monument, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve was created by an act of the United States Congress on September 13, 2004. The park contains approximately 85,000 acres (340 km2, 130 mi2).
The park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America, rising about 750 feet (230 m) from the floor of the San Luis Valley on the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Range, covering about 19,000 acres (77 km2). Researchers say that the dunes started forming less than 440,000 years ago.
The dunes were formed from sand and soil deposits of the Rio Grande and its tributaries, flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over the ages, westerly winds picked up sand particles from the river flood plain. As the wind lost power before crossing the Sangre de Cristo Range, the sand was deposited on the east edge of the valley. This process continues, and the dunes are slowly growing. The wind changes the shape of the dunes daily.
There are several streams flowing on the perimeter of the dunes. The streams erode the edge of the dune field, and sand is carried downstream. The water disappears into the ground, depositing sand on the surface. Winds pick up the deposits of sand, and blow them up onto the dune field once again.
Digging a couple inches into the dunes even at their peaks reveals wet sand. Part of the motivation of turning the Monument into a National Park was the extra protection of the water, which Colorado's cities and agriculture covet.
It is very easy to experience the dune-building process. This is a very windy region, as hikers on the Sand Dunes will attest, as on many days they will be pelted by sand and even small rocks when hiking on the dunes. The wind carries sand and rocks from many miles away. While the dunes don't change location or size that often, there are still parabolic dunes that start in the sand sheet, the outer area around the dunes, and migrate towards the main dune field. Sometimes they join the main dune field, and sometimes they will get covered with grass and vegetation and remain where they are.
The dunes are relatively stable, however their morphology changes slightly with the seasons. The direction of the wind greatly affects the dune type. The winds normally go from SW to NE, however during the late summer months, the wind direction reverses causing reversing dunes. This formation is part of the reason why the dunes are so tall.
The Great Sand Dunes sit on a large area of "High Desert" land in the San Luis Valley, just west of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. The summer temperatures of this area are not typical of normal high desert lands, although the large variation between high and low temperatures are. Low temperatures during winter nights can be exceedingly cold, with many night temperatures dropping below zero in the winter. Further off of the great sand dunes in this high desert valley, precipitation numbers are exceedingly low. However, precipitation is still very low on the great sand dunes, averaging just above 11 inches of rainfall per year. The high evaporation rates on the dunes qualify the area as desert land still, even though precipitation exceeds 10 inches. It does snow on the dunes as well, but snowfall is usually very short lived in the dry and sunny climate of Colorado.
Climate data for Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Average high °F (°C) 35.1
57.7 Average low °F (°C) 9.8
29.9 Precipitation inches (mm) 0.44
Snowfall inches (cm) 6.8
Source: www.wrcc.dri.edu/summary/climsmco.html 
The park also contains alpine lakes and tundra, six peaks over 13,000 feet (3,940 m) in elevation, ancient spruce and pine forests, large stands of aspen and cottonwood, grasslands, and wetlands — all habitat for diverse wildlife and plant species.
One of the most unusual features of the park happens at Medano Creek, which borders the east side of the dunes and is located next to the Visitor Center and Bookstore. Because fresh sand continually falls in the creek, Medano Creek never finds a permanent and stable streambed. Small underwater sand dunes that act like dams continually form and break down, and so waders in the stream see surges—which look like waves—of water flowing downstream at intervals of anywhere from just a few seconds to a minute or more. In a high-water year, these surges can be as much as a foot in height, resembling ocean waves. Building sand castles with the creek sand is a popular visitor activity, and Skimboarding is a great activity for young people to do because only an inch or two of creek depth is needed.
One of the most valued features of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is one that can't be seen. According to a recent Soundscape Study conducted by the National Park Service, this park is the quietest national park in the 48 contiguous United States.
Many visitors to the site haul flattened cardboard boxes or boogie boards up the dunes with the intention of sledding/sliding down. Neither seem to be effective sliding devices. Visitors anytime other than winter also are advised to avoid bare feet or sandals, and stick with sturdy, closed footwear. While the sand looks alluring, its chocolate color absorbs heat. The daylight sand temperature is well over 100 degrees and will burn tender, exposed feet quickly.
Getting to the dunes requires walking across the wide and shallow Medano Creek, which flows only from spring to early summer. Hiking is permitted, with the warning that the sand can get hot in the summer, up to 140° Fahrenheit (60° Celsius). The area gets snow in the winter.
The closest city is Alamosa, though Canon City, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver and Albuquerque, New Mexico are within a few hours drive. The U.S. Post Office at Alamosa (ZIP Code 81101) serves the national park.
The dunes and surrounding area were designated a National Monument in 1932. On November 22, 2000, United States President Bill Clinton signed the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act of 2000, aiming at ultimate national park status. With the help of the Nature Conservancy, the federal government purchased 97,000 acres (390 km2) of the Baca Ranch, which in effect tripled the size of the park. The purchase includes those sections of the ranch which previously bordered the park on the north and west sides and also included 14,165 feet (4,317 m) Kit Carson Mountain and 14,080 feet (4,292 m) subpeak Challenger Point, and the water drainages to the south. The land purchased was split into three sections. Part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains would be transferred to the Rio Grande National Forest, another section to the west would be set aside as a wildlife area and would host a wild bison herd and the last section to the east would be transferred from the Rio Grande National Forest and would be open to some hunting.
- Great Sand Dunes National Park (official site)
- Great Sand Dunes National Park: information from The Nature Conservancy
- Great Sand Dunes SummitPost.org
- U.S. National Monuments on Great Sand Dunes
- AmericanSouthwest.net on the Sand Dunes
- Alamosa Official CVB
Protected Areas of the State of Colorado FederalNational ParksNational MonumentsNational Recreation AreasNational Historic SitesNational Historic TrailsOld Spanish Trail · Pony Express Trail · Santa Fe TrailNational Scenic TrailContinental Divide TrailNational WildernessBlack Canyon of the Gunnison · Black Ridge Canyons · Buffalo Peaks · Byers Peak · Cache La Poudre · Collegiate Peaks · Comanche Peak · Dominguez · Eagles Nest · Flat Tops · Fossil Ridge · Great Sand Dunes · Greenhorn Mountain · Gunnison Gorge · Holy Cross · Hunter-Fryingpan · Indian Peaks · James Peak · La Garita · Lizard Head · Lost Creek · Maroon Bells-Snowmass · Mesa Verde · Mount Evans · Mount Massive · Mount Sneffels · Mount Zirkel · Neota · Never Summer · Platte River · Powderhorn · Ptarmigan Peak · Raggeds · Rawah · Sangre de Cristo · Sarvis Creek · South San Juan · Spanish Peaks · Uncompahgre · Vasquez Peak · Weminuche · West ElkNational Conservation AreasGunnison Gorge · McInnis CanyonsNational Wildlife Refuges StateArkansas Headwaters · Barr Lake · Bonny Lake · Boyd Lake · Castlewood Canyon · Chatfield · Cherry Creek · Cheyenne Mountain · Crawford · Eldorado Canyon · Eleven Mile · Golden Gate Canyon · Harvey Gap · Highline Lake · Jackson Lake · James M. Robb - Colorado River · John Martin Reservoir · Lake Pueblo · Lathrop · Lone Mesa · Lory · Mancos · Mueller · Navajo · North Sterling · Paonia · Pearl Lake · Ridgway · Rifle Falls · Rifle Gap · Roxborough · San Luis · Spinney Mountain · St. Vrain · Stagecoach · State Forest · Staunton · Steamboat Lake · Sweitzer Lake · Sylvan Lake · Trinidad Lake · Vega · Yampa River OtherBeaver Meadows · Burlington Carousel · Black Hawk · Central City · Colorado Chautauqua · Cripple Creek · Durango-Silverton Railroad · Georgetown · Granada · Leadville · Lindenmeier Site · Lowry Ruin · Mesa Verde · Pikes Peak · Pike's Stockade · Raton Pass · Shenandoah-Dives Mill · Silver Plume · Silverton · Telluride · U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet AreaAlpine Loop · Cache la Poudre-North Park · Colorado River Headwaters · Dinosaur Diamond · Flat Tops · Frontier Pathways · Gold Belt · Grand Mesa · Guanella Pass · Highway of Legends · Lariat Loop · Los Caminos Antiguos · Mount Evans · Pawnee Pioneer · Peak to Peak · San Juan Skyway · Santa Fe Trail · Silver Thread · South Platte River Trail · Top of the Rockies · Trail of the Ancients · Trail Ridge · Unaweep/Tabeguache · West Elk Loop National parks of the United StatesAcadia • American Samoa • Arches • Badlands • Big Bend • Biscayne • Black Canyon of the Gunnison • Bryce Canyon • Canyonlands • Capitol Reef • Carlsbad Caverns • Channel Islands • Congaree • Crater Lake • Cuyahoga Valley • Death Valley • Denali • Dry Tortugas • Everglades • Gates of the Arctic • Glacier • Glacier Bay • Grand Canyon • Grand Teton • Great Basin • Great Sand Dunes • Great Smoky Mountains • Guadalupe Mountains • Haleakalā • Hawaiʻi Volcanoes • Hot Springs • Isle Royale • Joshua Tree • Katmai • Kenai Fjords • Kings Canyon • Kobuk Valley • Lake Clark • Lassen Volcanic • Mammoth Cave • Mesa Verde • Mount Rainier • North Cascades • Olympic • Petrified Forest • Redwood • Rocky Mountain • Saguaro • Sequoia • Shenandoah • Theodore Roosevelt • Virgin Islands • Voyageurs • Wind Cave • Wrangell-St. Elias • Yellowstone • Yosemite • Zion
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
См. также в других словарях:
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve — Parc national et réserve de Great Sand Dunes Great Sand Dunes Catégorie Ib de la CMAP (Zone de nature sauvage) … Wikipédia en Français
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve — ▪ monument, Colorado, United States area of large sand dunes and mountainous terrain in south central Colorado, U.S. Covering some 150,000 acres (60,700 hectares), it is located at the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley along the western… … Universalium
Great Sand Dunes National Park — 37.759444444444 105.556111111117Koordinaten: 37° 45′ 34″ N, 105° 33′ 22″ W … Deutsch Wikipedia
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve — Wrangell St. Elias Nationalpark Mount Saint Elias … Deutsch Wikipedia
Katmai National Park and Preserve — Katmai Nationalpark Braunbär in der Hallo Bay … Deutsch Wikipedia
Gates Of The Arctic National Park and Preserve — Gates of the Arctic Nationalpark Gates of the Arctic National Park … Deutsch Wikipedia
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve — Lake Clark Nationalpark Lake Clark … Deutsch Wikipedia
Denali National Park and Preserve — IUCN Category II (National Park) … Wikipedia
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve — Glacier Bay Nationalpark Der Margerie Gletscher … Deutsch Wikipedia
Denali National Park and Preserve — Denali Nationalpark Reflection Pond … Deutsch Wikipedia