National Wildlife Refuges!!!
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.