Outdoor World

Oil and gas industry is coming for Colorado’s sand dunes


( CNN) Southern Colorado is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the country. Where the engulf, dark-green slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains reached the hollow floor, they are met by towering sand dunes that sprawl across more than 30 square miles. The highest dunes rise more than 700 feet into the air — about the high levels of the tallest skyscraper in many American metropolis. This landscape has been crafted over tens of thousands of years, as winds blowing over the mountains dropped grains of sand, which slowly morphed into the dunes we see today.


First recognized and protected by President Herbert Hoover in 1932, the Great Sand Dunes contain the largest dunes in Northern america. Every time, around 320,000 guests, many of them children and families, enjoy the park by sandboarding down the dunes, playing in the adjacent creek, hiking or looking for wildlife. According to the park’s website, the dunes are home to six species of bugs that can be found nowhere else on ground, including the somewhat, and properly named, Great Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle.

But the area around the Great Sand Dunes — like many other special places across America — is now at risk.

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