Colorado’s Sand Dunes Now Bigger Than It Was 48 Hours Ago
This is not the result of some natural event. No natural disaster caused this drastic increase in size. Did somebody slip this national park some kind of Viagra? Not at all. This is simply your National Parks in action.
Department of the Interior Press Release
On Thursday, October 6, 2022, the Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and National Park Service Director Chuck Sams celebrated the transfer of roughly 9,362 acres of The Medano Ranch from the Nature Conservancy to Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Just how big is 9,362 acres? Using the handy-dancy CalcItFast converter you can quickly discover 9,362 acres equals 14.6281 square miles. Is that a lot? Well, the entire island of Manhattan is only 22.82 square miles. You will probably agree the idea of acquiring land roughly 2/3 the size of a metropolis like Manhattan represents a considerable acquisition.
Why Acquire More Land?
Pamela Rice, superintendent of the Great Sand Dunes National Park said, "The lands being transferred to the Park contain important springs and wetlands that support a rich diversity of life." She added, "This acquisition marks an important step toward completing the plan for Great Sand Dunes National Park that was established in 2004."
The Nature Conservancy in Colorado purchased the Medano-Zapata Ranch back in 1999. Here's a short timeline of events:
- 1932 - The area was designated Great Sand Dunes National Monument by President Herbert Hoover. The original boundaries measured 35,528 acres.
- 1964 - The Land Water Conservation Fund was established by Congress
- 1999 - The Nature Conservancy purchases Medano-Zapata Ranch
- 2000 - The Great Sand Dunes National park and Preserve Act passes, quadrupling the size of the Great Sand Dunes
- 2021 - 603,000 visitors came to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
The Big Picture
Via yesterday's (October 6, 2022) press release, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said, "This acquisition underscores the central role that locally led conservation efforts to play in the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative and our ongoing efforts to conserve, connect and restore public lands and waters."