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No more free entry into the Great Sand Dunes

Brief by Central Staff

Outdoor recreation – February 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

On clement days in the off-season, Great Sand Dunes National Monument was a great deal: Free.

But those days are past. On Jan. 1, it became one of 50 National Park Service areas in a “demonstration fee project.”

This means that the rangers will be staffing the gate all year, instead of just in the summer.

And it will cost more for most visitors — the daily fee goes from $4 a car to $3 per person. Perhaps to keep parents from hiding their children in the trunk, people under 17 are allowed in for free.

However, they’re also selling a $10 annual permit, good all year and covering everybody in the vehicle. And, 80% of the new fees will stay with Great Sand Dunes National Monument for improvements, such as an auditorium, new view windows, and a new rear fa¬łade.

Dunes administrators expect that the higher fees will produce $300,000 in new revenue during the three years of the “demonstration.”

So, if you’re heading for the Dunes, take some cash, if you have any left after dealing with the IRS.