Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve will increase recreation access through a phased approach beginning June 3, following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities.
The phased approach will allow the park to adhere to all guidance, reduce risks to visitors and staff and promote safe recreational opportunities, according to a press release.
“We are excited to welcome visitors back to the park and support our local communities,” park Superintendent Pamela Rice said. “As the public returns to the park, we ask that they practice social distancing and follow national and state guidance to keep park staff, local residents and the general public safe.”
This summer’s operation will look different as the park has implemented strategies to ensure visitors can enjoy the park while minimizing risk.
Beginning June 3, Great Sand Dunes will implement Phase 1 and reopen access to:
• Main park road.
• Dunes parking area and dune field.
• Medano Pass Primitive Road (if road conditions allow), including established campsites on a first-come, first-served basis.
• All trails: Mosca Pass, Montville Nature, Sand Sheet Loop, Wellington Ditch, Dunes Overlook, Sand Ramp, Medano Lake and Music Pass.
• All picnic areas: Mosca Creek, Sand Pit and Castle Creek.
• Entrance station, including collection of fees if authorized.
With public health in mind, the following facilities or areas remain closed until further notice:
• Visitor center.
• South Ramada group picnic site in the Mosca Creek Picnic Area.
• Piñon Flats Campground.
• Overnight backcountry access in the national park, including the dune field and sites along the Sand Ramp Trail.
While the visitor center remains closed, park rangers will provide information outside at the visitor center.
Great Sand Dunes plans to reopen the Piñon Flats Campground and begin issuing backcountry permits for both the park and preserve in mid-June as part of Phase 2; however, Phase 2 is contingent upon successful implementation of Phase 1, sufficient staff capacity and supplies and current local and state guidance.
Upon reopening, business practices will be put into place to ensure safety of visitors and staff when interacting at the entrance station, campground, visitor center and public restroom facilities.
When recreating, the park encourages the public to follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding, practice proper hand washing, avoid high-risk outdoor activities and wear cloth face masks in crowded areas, especially around the visitor center and restroom facilities.
Details and updates will be posted at nps.gov/gsra.