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History Colorado: The Great Sand Dunes National Park

HISTORY COLORADO -- Colorado is home to 13 National Parks. One of the newest National Parks is the Great Sand Dunes, located in Colorado's San Luis Valley. It is one of the more distinct landscapes in our state.

The park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America (750' high at an elevation of
8,700' above sea level). The dunes developed from sand left behind after prehistoric lakes receded and blew towards a low curve in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

During the 1930s a gold mill was established to recover gold from the sand of the dunes leading to a local movement to protect the area. Members of the Ladies P.E.O. sponsored a bill to
Congress asking for National Monument status. On March 17, 1932 President Herbert Hoover signed the bill into law.

In the late 1990s, advocacy for the Monument to expand to a National Park began and by
September 2004 it officially became the Great Sand Dunes.

The park is now visited by about 285,000 people each year.

Editor's Note: This content was provided by our partners at History Colorado.