Crestone Eagle, November 2006:
Community members evaluate proposed alternatives for traffic routes to National Park north boundary & trailhead
by Lisa Cyriacks
Meetings continue for the Community Study Group
reviewing options related to north access for the Great Sand
Dunes National Park. At the October meeting, participants
were presented with a list of six proposed entry points, some
with multiple route variations—for a total of twelve
alternatives. Two of these alternatives completely avoid using
roads through the Baca Grande subdivision while the rest vary
in their use of those same roads.
The Sonoran Institute has been working with the Saguache
County Commissioners, the Baca Grande Property Owners Association,
and the three federal agencies owning land adjacent to the
subdivision to formulate a collaborative community process
to assist in making a recommendation of where to route traffic
from County Road T to the Great Sand Dunes National Park boundary.
People have been given information, asked to think about that
information seriously and to propose solutions that meet criteria
identified by the study group. The importance of this process
is that anywhere from 60 to 100 people have been engaging
in civil dialogue, working toward a solution that meets the
interests of different stakeholders in the community. The
desired outcome is for the community to speak with a unified
voice on this issue and thereby best influence the decisions
that need to be made to provide access to the National Park.
Steve Chaney, Great Sand Dunes National Park Superintendent,
updated the group on the progress of the General Management
Plan. At this point the NEPA process and the public hearings
portion is more or less complete. The time frame for adoption
of a plan is May to June of 2007. At this point there is no
time frame defined for implementation of the Park’s
plan for access; i.e. no road from the north boundary inside
the Park will be built until there is a public road identified
to meet it.
October’s meeting did not yield an answer to that question,
but members of the study group identified additional areas
where more information is needed. A meeting will be scheduled
in November to review the possibility and parameters of a
transportation planning study based on three of the alternatives,
evaluating traffic impacts, parking, and including a fiscal
study to determine costs of improving or constructing additional
Another outcome is that the group has identified the need
for an overall Subarea Comprehensive Plan review that covers
related issues such as build out in the Baca Grande subdivision,
traffic related to growth and spiritual center activities,
location of commercial centers and travel routes to serve
those areas, and environmental impacts of these activities
in the subdivision.
Copies of the alternatives, the criteria identified to date
for the decision, and previous meeting summaries are available
on the Saguache County website: www.saguachecounty.net under
“North Entrance Study Group”. Or, you may contact
Marjo Curgus of the Sonoran Institute 970-263-9635 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
to the Eagle!