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About the Monument

Sidebar by Marcia Darnell

Great Sand Dunes – February 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Great Sand Dunes is 60.4 square miles of the tallest dunes on the continent. The highest pile of sand rises 700 feet. The monument was established within the National park system in 1932 by President Herbert Hoover.

There are 15 miles of roads within its boundaries, and 18 miles of trails. Campsites total 100, with 48 structures.

Endemic species include the Great Sand Dunes tiger beetle, Great Sand Dunes darkling beetle, and a subspecies of silky pocket mouse. Rare species include the giant treader camel cricket and the Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Visitors number about 300,000 a year.

Historically, visitation to a monument increases 10 to 15 percent a year after conversion to a national park.

— M.D.