Great Sand Dunes to Implement Phase 2 of the Park’s Re-opening Plan on June 17
[Mosca, CO] – Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve will implement Phase 2 of their re-opening plan on Wednesday, June 17, to further increase recreational access following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities. The park implemented Phase 1 on Wednesday, June 3, and re-opened access to:
- Dunes parking area and dunefield access
- Medano Pass Primitive Road, 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 the collection of entrance fees
This phased approach allows the park to adhere to all guidance, reduce risks to visitors and staff, and promote safe recreational opportunities. Great Sand Dunes continues to follow the State of Colorado “Level 3: Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors” guidance and to work with county and local officials as these changes are implemented. Great Sand Dunes is in Alamosa and Saguache counties.
Starting on Wednesday, June 17, the park will implement Phase 2 and re-open access to:
- Pinon Flats Campground Loop 1 and Loop 2, including restroom facilities
- Overnight backcountry access in the National Park, including the dune field and sites along the Sand Ramp Trail
Visitors’ reservations starting on June 17th and beyond will be honored for the Pinon Flats Campground. Visitors will be able to make reservations up to the day of arrival. Only online payments and reservations will be accepted. Visitors interested in reserving a campsite should visit www.recreation.gov.
A free backcountry permit can be obtained at the visitor center, daily between 9am-12pm and 2pm-4pm. Permits are first-come, first-serve and cannot be reserved. Permits are limited to 6 people per permit, no more than 2 vehicles per group. For more information, visitors should visit the park’s backpacking page on the park website, https://www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/backpacking.htm.
With public health in mind, the following facilities or areas remain closed until further notice:
- South Ramada group picnic site in the Mosca Creek Picnic Area
- Visitor Center interior exhibits, restrooms, and the Western National Parks Association (WNPA) park store.
- Pinon Flats Campground Group Loop
While the interior of the visitor center remains inaccessible, park rangers will provide information outside at the visitor center and WNPA will sell select merchandise onsite.
Upon re-opening, business practices will continue to be put into place to ensure the safety of visitors and staff when interacting at the entrance station, campground, visitor center and public restroom facilities. When recreating, we encourage 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 in the campground and around the visitor center and restroom facilities.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be
paramount. At Great Sand Dunes, our operational approach is to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public facilities and staff workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website, www.nps.gov/grsa, and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.