Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.

Mesa Verde National Park

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve:
contains the tallest dunes in North America and one of the most fragile and complex dune systems in the world
protects a globally significant, water- and wind-driven system, which includes creeks that demonstrate surge flow, a rare hydrologic phenomenon
provides tremendous scenic settings that, for many, provoke strong emotional responses. These settings (including massive dunes surrounded by alpine peaks, a desert valley, creeks flowing on the surface of the sand, pristine mountains, and rural range land) offer spacious relief from urban America, exceptional solitude and quiet, and a remarkably unspoiled day and night sky
hosts a great diversity of plants and animals, including insect species found nowhere else on earth. The system, which spans high desert to alpine life zones, supports rare biological communities that are mostly intact and functional
contains some of the oldest (9,000+ years before present) known archeological sites in America. The dunes have been identified as having special importance by people of various cultures, and the area is recognized for the culturally diverse nature of human use
provides special opportunities for recreation, exploration, and education in the highly resilient dune mass and adjoining creek environments.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve