“From the lofty editorial perspective of Blanca Peak, the huge expanse of the San Luis Valley unfolds to the west, south, and north. This long-awaited regional atlas offers readers an in-depth view of the complex geology, intricate ecology, and vast resources they have offered human populations over the centuries.”
—Enrique Lamadrid, professor emeritus at University of New Mexico
“A benchmark contribution to knowledge about the valley, its natural resources, and its people.”
—David Lindsey, scientist emeritus for the US Geological Survey
The Geology, Ecology, and Human History of the San Luis Valley explores the rich landscapes and diverse social histories of the San Luis Valley, an impressive mountain valley spanning over 9,000 square miles that crosses the border of south-central Colorado and north-central New Mexico and includes many cultural traditions. Twenty-six expert scholars and educators—including geologists, geographers, biologists, ecologists, linguists, historians, sociologists, and consultants—uncover the natural and cultural history of the region, which serves as home to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the San Juan Mountains, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and the Rio Grande headwaters.
The first section, “The Geology and Ecology of the San Luis Valley,” surveys the geomorphology, hydrology, animal and plant life, conservation, management, and mining of the valley’s varied terrain. The second section, “Human History of the San Luis Valley,” recounts the valley’s human visitation and settlement, from early indigenous life to Spanish exploration to Hispanic and Japanese settlements. This section introduces readers to the region’s wide range of religious identities—Catholic, Latter-day Saint, Buddhist, Jehovah’s Witness, Amish, and Mennonite—and diverse linguistic traditions, including Spanish, English, Dutch, Danish, Japanese, and Mayan. The final section, “Travel Itineraries,” addresses recreation, specifically fly-fishing and rock climbing.
The book provides a comprehensive overview of the endemic flora and fauna, human history of indigenous lifeways, and diverse settlement patterns that have shaped the region. The Geology, Ecology, and Human History of the San Luis Valley will appeal to students and scholars of geology, ecology, environmental history, and cultural history, as well as residents and tourists seeking to know more about this fascinating and integral part of Colorado and New Mexico.
Contributors: Benjamin Armstrong, Timothy Armstrong, Deacon Aspinwall, Robert Benson, Lorrie Crawford, Kristy Duran, Jeff Elison, Eric Harmon, Devin Jenkins, Bradley G. Johnson, Robert M. Kirkham, Bessie Konishi, Angie Krall, Richard D. Loosbrock, Richard Madole, A. W. Magee, Victoria Martinez, James McCalpin, Mark Mitchell, R. Nathan Pipitone, Andrew Valdez, Rio de la Vista, Damián Vergara Wilson