Saturday, April 20

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Sand Dunes meeting cancelled, Baca route rumor quelled

3/14/24

A planned meeting tonight to discuss traffic, parking, and other congestion issues at the Great Sand Dunes National Park (GSDNP) was cancelled due to inclement weather. The meeting was scheduled to take place at the Baca National Wildlife Refuge. There are no immediate plans to reschedule the meeting, although public comment is still welcomed online. 

The rumors of a proposed northern route to the Sand Dunes through the Baca Grande using Liberty Road are false, according to GSDNP Supervisor Andrea Compton. The rumors appear to have started in a Grimes Report e-newsletter penned by Sara Grimes and sent to the newsletter’s email list March 8. In it she states the NPS proposals “provide an opportunity for local citizens to voice their views and to potentially shape the proposal into something that works well for the environment and for the Baca/Crestone community.”

Although Grimes did not explicitly state that a northern route was on the agenda for tonight’s meeting, she implied that the NPS might be considering it. Her report immediately made the rounds on Facebook. A calendar item published anonymously in the online calendar at The Crestone Eagle website further pushed the rumor. The calendar item has since been removed. 

“The current planning efforts do not include any changes to the Liberty Gate entrance area or any other options near Crestone (or Baca Grande),” according to Compton. “We focused on front-country access and specifically the southern end of the park to address congestion, safety, and resource concerns there,” she said.

She added, “We considered options for the facilities affiliated with visitors driving to and from the park from the southern entry of the Park and Preserve, the parking lots affiliated with visitors going to Medano Creek and the Dunes themselves from the southern entry, and other access topics for the southern and eastern portions of the Park and Preserve.”  

The preferred method for submitting comments is online at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/GRSA_TTP

Comments may also be mailed or hand-delivered to: 

Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center, Attn: Transportation and Transit Planning, 11999 State Highway 150, Mosca CO 81146. The deadline to submit comments is March 29, 2024. 

At the conclusion of the 30-day public comment period, the NPS will analyze and consider all comments received. A draft environmental assessment will likely be released for public review fall 2024. A final decision is expected in early 2025.

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