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Aurora Borealis - Thursday March 8th
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USA Parks
USA Parks
Colorado
Colorado
Southeast Region
Southeast Region
Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
ALAMOSA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
ALAMOSA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
9383 El Rancho Lane
Alamosa, Colorado   81101

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The setting sun drapes the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in blood-red shadows as bending cattails and dry greasewood take on a beautiful glow. Your head feels light as you look to the east, Bennet Peak. The San Luis Valley has that effect, you can have two feet planted on flat ground yet be at a soaring 7800 feet above sea level.

The Valley extends over 100 miles from north to south and 50 miles from east to west, with dwarfing mountains in three directions. The surrounding mountains feed the arid valley with precious surface water, as well as replenish an expansive underground reservoir. All life (human and wild) hangs in the balance of this natural cycle. Rivers fed by mountain snow and wetlands created by artesian pressure create threads and patches of life on the valley floor. Early European settlers took advantage of this liquid wealth and for the past 200 years turned the San Luis Valley into a rich agricultural center.

This liquid wealth has also made two National Wildlife Refuges possible in the San Luis Valley: Alamosa and Monte Vista. These wetland gems near the heart and on the edge of the Valley are places for wildlife and people.Alamosa and Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) are found in the heart of the Colorado's San Luis Valley. Alamosa NWR includes 11,169 acres of wetlands of various depths and sizes located primarily within the Rio Grande flood plain. The natural wet meadows, river oxbows, and riparian corridors support high wildlife diversity including songbirds, water birds, raptors, deer, beaver, and coyotes.

The artificially created wetlands on Monte Vista NWR's 14,804 acres are intensively managed to provide habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl and other water birds. Mallards, pintail, teal, and Canada geese are common, as are American avocets, killdeer, white-faced ibis, egrets, and herons. Irrigation canals and wells provide precious water to maintain important wetland habitat.

The entire Rocky Mountain population of sandhill cranes migrate biannually through the Monte Vista NWR and the San Luis Valley each year. These cranes collectively spend more time in the San Luis Valley than at their wintering and breeding grounds, making it a crucial migratory stopover for this population. The Monte Vista Crane Festival is held annually in early March to celebrate the return of the cranes.

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The headquarters for both Refuges is located at Alamosa NWR, 4 miles east of the town of Alamosa, Colorado, on Highway 160 and 2 miles south on El Rancho Lane. Monte Vista NWR is located 6 miles south of the town of Monte Vista on Highway 15. <P>

USA Parks
USA Parks
Colorado
Colorado
Southeast Region
Southeast Region
Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge