The National Natural Landmarks Program, founded on May 18, 1962, recognizes and promotes the preservation of locations with biological and geological values.
Stewart Udall established the initiative, the country’s interior secretary at the time, to promote and assist individuals who choose to preserve places that showcase American natural heritage.
The National Park Service is in charge of overseeing the NNL Program. Colorado, sometimes known as The Centennial State, is the eighth-largest state in the US, with a total of 104,094 square miles.
With a height of 14,440 feet, Mount Albert is Colorado’s highest peak. There are 14 National Natural Landmarks in the state, including one shared with the State of Wyoming.
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Big Spring Creek
The 440-acre Big Spring Creek, controlled by the federal government, is situated in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The unconfined aquifer from which the spring-fed brook draws its water.
The wetlands in Colorado’s Saguache County provide habitat for unique flora and animals. For its geological and hydrological characteristics, the National Park Service named Big Spring Creek a National Natural Landmark in 2012.
Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods Park in El Paso County, Colorado, Garden of the Gods has an area of 862 acres. The park is owned and operated by the home rule municipality of Colorado Springs. In 1971, Garden of the Gods was recognized as a National Natural Landmark.
Sedimentary rocks have been vertically elevated at the location by the same processes that created the Rocky Mountains. The historic site was home to a rare species of honey ants in 1879. White-throated swifts, canyon wrens, and swallows all reside at the location.
Garden Park Fossil Area
The federal government owns the 3,209-acre Garden Park Fossil Area and is situated in Fremont County. The site is the most important place for Late Jurassic age fossils in North America and was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1973.
The region sparked curiosity all across the globe in the late 1800s. Archaeologists discovered three complete Stegosaurus skeletons and Diplodocus and Ceratosaurus fossils at the site. The government increased the perimeter of the monument in 2013.
Glenwood Canyon in Garfield County has Hanging Lake, created by travertine deposition. The Lake, which has a 72-acre surface area, was named a National Natural Landmark in June 2011. The federal government is the owner of Hanging Lake.
The dissolved carbonate minerals give the water of Hanging Lake its turquoise hue. The landmark is a well-liked hiking location in the state and is home to the state’s biggest colony of hanging garden plants.
Hanging Lake is in danger of ecological damage owing to the annual volume of more than 131,000 people. Dogs and swimming are not permitted in the Lake.
The Indian Springs Trace Fossil
In 1979, the privately owned Indian Springs Trace Fossil Natural Area in Fremont County, Colorado, received the designation of National Natural Landmark.
The property is spread over 113 acres. Trilobites, brachiopods, and horseshoe crab are just a few of the 25 distinct species of trace fossils found at the site, which is made of sandstone from the Harding Formation.
The site’s owners provide trips along the Gold Belt Byway. The fossils depict the motions and marks of prehistoric Ordovician animal life that existed more than 450 million years ago.
Lost Creek Scenic Area
The Lost Creek Scenic Area in Colorado’s Park and Jefferson counties span roughly 26 square miles and is a part of the Lost Creek Wilderness.
The beautiful area was established in 1963 and was given national natural landmark status in 1966. The landmark contains spires, deep canyons, and ridges and is a part of the Pike National Forest.
Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas
The 80-acre areas were given national natural landmark status in 1973. The Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas include plant fossils, dinosaurs, crocodiles, and reptile bones and footprints. The boundaries of the landmark were increased in June 2011.
Dinosaur Ridge, a well-known site for dinosaur fossils, is located in the Morrison Fossil Area. Dinosaurs discovered at the site are exhibited at the Dinosaur Ridge Exhibit Hall.
The Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas were developed when a different track was combined with Dinosaur Ridge. Both the county and private persons are the sites’ owners.
The highest point of Raton Mesa, which spans 4,183 acres, was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1967. The state and private persons jointly own the landmark, which is situated in Colorado’s Las Animas County.
A thick lava top protects the mesa because it has withstood the excellent weathering and erosion nearby. The Raton Basin, where coal and natural gas are produced, includes Raton Mesa.
Roxborough State Park
Colorado’s Douglas County is home to the Roxborough State Park, which opened its doors in 1975. The state owns the park, which is 743 acres in size. The location contains distinctive hogback exposures, fossil remnants, and erosion patterns.
The area was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1980 because of its geological structures and biological systems. The park is designated as a State Historic Site and a National Cultural District due to the abundance of archaeological sites.
In 1975, Saguache County, Colorado’s Russell Lakes, received this designation. The federal government and private parties jointly hold the 2,306-acre landmark.
The vast bulrush marsh known as The Russell Lakes is a Colorado Natural Area. There is a lot of vegetation and animals in the region, a waterfowl nesting ground.
Great examples of cross-bedded sandstone and collapse stones may be seen at Sand Creek. Between Albany County in Wyoming and Larimer County in Colorado, the Sand Creek stream runs.
The area where the stream crosses the state line between Colorado and Wyoming was listed as a National Natural Landmark in 1984. The 5,118-acre landmark has private ownership in addition to federal and governmental ownership.
The 800-acre Slumgullion Earthflow in Hinsdale County exhibits the geologic process of mass wasting. A slow-moving landslide that occurred 700 years ago produced a mass 4 miles long and 2,000 feet broad.
The Slumgullion Earthflow, privately and publicly owned by the government, was named a National Natural Landmark in 1965.
The San Isabel National Forest spans 59 square miles in both Huerfano and Las Animas counties and contains the Spanish Peaks, also known as Huajatolla by the Ute Indians.
In 1976, The Spanish Peaks received the designation of National Natural Landmark. There are more than 500 exposed igneous dikes at the location, controlled by the federal government and private parties.
Summit Lake, which has a 160-acre surface area, is located inside Summit Lake Park. At an elevation of roughly 13,000 feet, the area is home to unique alpine-arctic flora.
Summit Lake, which is in Clear Creek County and often referred to as the highest in the US, was named a National Natural Landmark in 1965.
West Bijou Site
The privately owned West Bijou Site in Colorado spans 7,613 acres in both Arapahoe and Elbert counties. In November 2016, the National Park Service declared the West Bijou Site a National Natural Landmark. The monument has a characteristic of wild pronghorns.
The location has magnetostratigraphy, iridium anomalies, shocked quartz, and fossils from the Cretaceous and Paleogene. A range of uncommon and widespread animal and plant species may be found there.