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Contact: Kathy Faz, 719-582-0258
Mosca, CO – Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is announcing additional modifications to operations in response to a request from the Alamosa County Public Health Department. The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is our number one priority.
Effective Friday, April 17, at midnight, Great Sand Dunes will be closed to all park visitors until further notice. This closure includes all public access points, park roads, and backcountry access. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website www.nps.gov/grsa and social media channels.
“We have been monitoring conditions at the park and working closely with the local public health officials,” stated Park Superintendent Pamela Rice. “Due to increasing visitation, we can no longer mitigate the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus and agree that it is in the public’s best interest to close at this time.”
Despite stay-at-home orders across the country, Great Sand Dunes continues to see increasing visitation, crowding, and a high percentage of out-of-state visitors. A park closure will align with the county’s request to further minimize the risks associated with the novel coronavirus and not compromise the local healthcare system.
“As a former park ranger at the Great Sand Dunes, it gives me no pleasure to recommend closure of one of our national treasures, even for a brief period of time,” Alamosa County Public Health Director Della Cox-Vieira said. “However, it is my duty to protect the people of Alamosa County during this pandemic, and that includes the staff of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and any potential visitors.”
Rice added, “We look forward to the day when we can welcome visitors once again to enjoy the amazing resources and recreational opportunities at Great Sand Dunes.”
The NPS encourages people to take advantage of the many digital tools already available to explore Great Sand Dunes including:
Interactive learning activities including coloring pages and Junior Ranger opportunities can be found on our website here, https://www.nps.gov/grsa/learn/kidsyouth/index.htm.
Virtual passport cancellation stamps for Great Sand Dunes are available at https://www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.
We encourage visitors to check out our youtube channel, www.youtube.com/greatsanddunesnpp, to watch highlights of the annual Robotics Challenge, or experience 40 seconds of the refreshing sights and sounds of lower Mosca Canyon in fall. If you ever wondered what the views were like from higher elevations, virtually summit Mount Herard (13,297 feet / 4053 m) in Great Sand Dunes National Preserve or take a digital tour of the Trujillo Homesteads National Historic Landmark.
Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.
Last updated: April 16, 2020