Great Sand Dunes May Be Next National Park

Congress’ efforts to convert the tallest sand dunes in North America into a national park
and wildlife refuge have taken a big step with a private conservation group buying a huge
ranch next to the area. The Nature Conservancy said it’s spending $31.28 million to
purchase the 97,000-acre Baca Ranch and two 14,000-foot peaks in southern Colorado, next to
Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Preserve. The conservation group’s purchase prevents
the land from being sold to someone else. Once the deed is turned over to the federal
government, the 39,000-acre monument and preserve is to be combined with approximately
43,000 acres of the ranch to form half of what would be the new Great Sand Dunes National
Park and Preserve. It would become the nation’s 56th national park.

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