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I'm a Science Teacher, Nature Photographer, Husband, Father, and Grandfather who loves to explore the natural world by traveling, photographing and thinking. 


Monday, September 30, 2013

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Should you find yourself driving through south central Colorado, I strongly recommend that you take a break from the road and wander over to Great Sand Dunes National Park (GSDNP). These are the highest sand dunes in the United States, reaching an elevation of 750 feet. 

Click in the image to see a high resolution version

These dunes are particularly interesting as they are obviously not coastal and thus all the more unusual. According to the National Park Service, Great Sand Dunes National Park is significant for a range of reasons including:

  • GSDNP contains the tallest dunes in North America and one of the most fragile and complex dune systems in the world
  • GSDNP protects a globally significant, water- and wind-driven system, which includes creeks that demonstrate surge flow, a rare hydrologic phenomenon 
  • GSDNP provides tremendous scenic settings that, for many, provoke strong emotional responses. These settings (including massive dunes surrounded by alpine peaks, a desert valley, creeks flowing on the surface of the sand, pristine mountains, and rural range land) offer spacious relief from urban America, exceptional solitude and quiet, and a remarkably unspoiled day and night sky
  • GSDNP hosts a great diversity of plants and animals, including insect species found nowhere else on earth. The system, which spans high desert to alpine life zones, supports rare biological communities that are mostly intact and functional
  • GSDNP contains some of the oldest (9,000+ years before present) known archaeological sites in America. The dunes have been identified as having special importance by people of various cultures, and the area is recognized for the culturally diverse nature of human use

Click in the image to see a high resolution version

A few hours spent exploring this unique environment will stay with you for years afterward! 

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