Conference Update – Schedule Change

wet dunes
Streaky dunes after a rain © Don Laine

By Don Laine

Those planning to come to RMOWP’s 2018 conference September 23-26 need to know about a change in time for the guided field trip into Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Park photographer Patrick Myers told us what we really knew all along – Light for photographing the dunes is better in the morning than the afternoon. So, now the plan is to leave the Alamosa Super 8 Monday, September 24, by 7:30am for the 45-minute drive to the park, where we’ll meet Myers in the Dunes Parking Area, near the drop-off point, for a guided walk into the dunes. Wear sturdy shoes, good in sand. Elevation in the dunes is about 8,200 feet.

You can go as far as you want into the dunes on this trek, and we’ll re-group for lunch at the South Ramada Group Picnic Area (next to the Dunes Parking Area) at noon. After lunch you’re on your own for a while to explore the visitor center, wander among the dunes, or hike some of the trails. Those who don’t mind getting their feet wet can see some beautiful scenery as well as good views of the dunes on a jaunt outside the park to Zapata Falls, managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Assuming decent weather we’ll meet for a barbecue supper back at the South Ramada Group Picnic Area at 5:30pm, and try for some good sunset and full moon shots of the dunes.

The rest of the conference is pretty much what we’ve been saying for the past few months. Please see the new, improved schedule in this newsletter and throw away any earlier ones you might have!

Note: Another nearby attraction is the bison herd at Zapata Ranch, just outside the national park. We have not scheduled any trips to see the bison, but you can do so on your own with advance reservations. The ranch is owned by the Nature Conservancy and operated by Ranchlands company. Tours to see the 2,000-head bison herd are scheduled at 9am and noon on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, at a cost of $50 per adult. Call 719-378-2356 ext. 112 or see

Lodging Deadline Almost Here: Deadline for getting our Alamosa Super 8 group rate of $89 per night and for canceling your reservation without penalty is Saturday, September 8. Call the motel directly at 719-589-6447. For lodging questions ask to speak to manager Jose Rodriguez.