Great Sand Dunes establishes
new attendance record

The Great Sand Dunes National Park in 2021 surpassed 600,000 annual visitors for the first time, establishing a new annual attendance record.

It’s been steady years growth for the national park in Alamosa County. In 2015, the Sand Dunes saw 299,985 visitors and then hit 388,778 visitors in 2016. In 2019, the national park saw 528,014 annual visitors and has now finished 2021 with 603,084 annual visitors. 


The Sand Dunes National Park staff will use 2022 to survey visitors on their experiences at the park to better understand the consistent growth in visitors over the past several years and how to manage the national park with the growing visitations.

Great Sand Dunes visitation by year:

District Court Judge Martin Gonzales retires

Colorado 12th Judicial District Judge Martin A. Gonzales is retiring. The 12th Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet on Feb. 7 to interview and select nominees for appointment by Gov. Polis to replace Gonzales.

Gonzales was appointed to the district court bench in 2007 after serving as Alamosa County Judge. He’s a native of Alamosa and graduated from the University of Colorado in 1975 and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Colorado Law School in 1978.

Gonzales has always involved himself in community activities, especially those involving mental health and children. He serves as a member of many non-profit boards including: the board of directors for the San Luis Valley Community Corrections Board, member the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center medical ethics committee, member of the board of directors of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, member of the board of directors of the San Luis Valley Comprehensive Mental Health Center, member of the Board of Managers of

Sycare LLC [mental health MAHAS], member of the 12th Judicial Juvenile services committee.

Most recently he has focused his attention on a 1914 educational desegregation case involving Francisco Maestas and other Alamosa Hispanic families whose children were forced by the Alamosa School Board to attend a separate school from their white counterparts. Gonzales leads a volunteer committee that has been working to bring attention to the landmark case.

Gonzales was born in Alamosa in 1952. He is a fourth-generation resident of the San Luis Valley.

The 12th Judicial District comprises Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties. Gonzales’ retirement is effective April 1, 2022.

Alamosa High honors Gary Ramstetter 

His teams won 12 state wrestling championships, and his wrestlers captured 57 individual titles, and a total of 207 Alamosa High wrestlers placed in the state tournament during Ramstetter’s coaching career. Those are the numbers that highlight Gary Ramstetter’s impact on the Maroons wrestling program over his 42 years of coaching. A thankful wrestling community came out Saturday to say thanks during a ceremony at Alamosa High.

(Photos by Jose Uriarte for Alamosa Citizen)

Mayor Coleman and State Sen. Simpson
are first guests on The Valley Pod

Alamosa Mayor Ty Coleman and State Sen. Cleave Simpson were the first two guests on The Valley Pod, a new podcast by The mayor discussed Xcel Energy’s Dec. 30 power outage, among other topics, and Simpson talked about the upcoming legislative session which begins this week and bills he is planning to introduce.

Find the first two episodes of The Valley Pod, plus a listing of The Creative Citizen podcast episodes, here:

Ouray artist win’s $1,000 People’s Choice Award

Cie Hoover from Ouray is the recipient of the 2021 Alamosa ARTscape People’s Choice Award. Hoover’s pine carved base and redwood and cedar sculpture “Balance in the Fray” is installed in front of Treasure Alley on Main Street Alamosa.

“It was actually created just after the big COVID shutdown and is obviously inspired by finding balance in the craziness of the world,” Hoover said. “It is all wood-based as the main sculpture, a metal base resembling a tree ring. I like to utilize different woods to accentuate the different natural elements, and I’m hoping it helps people to find their own means to balance.”

The award is part of the City’s ARTscape sculpture program, which features on-loan, outdoor sculptures downtown for one year. The public votes for its favorite, and the City rewards the chosen artist with a $1,000 prize.

The 2021 Art Festival was sponsored in part by Alamosa County Local Marketing District, Alamosa Live Music Association and El Pomar Foundation. 

The 2022-2023 Call for Artists is now open and the deadline to apply is February 21, 2022.  The website to apply is:

For more information about the Alamosa ARTscape program, please call Desiree Cortez at (719) 587-2509.

Alamosa County looks to fill
planning commission vacancy

The Alamosa County Board of Commissioners is seeking citizens to serve on the Alamosa County Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is composed of five volunteer citizens and one alternate appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. They advise the County on planning, land development, and land policy within Alamosa County. This position is appointed to attend Planning Commission Board meetings.

Those interested in applying for theboard member position must submit an application and current resume. Applications may be picked up at the County Administration office at 8900-A Independence Way or online at

Applications will be accepted until the post is filled. Send your information to Belina Ramirez, Executive Assistant, 8900 Independence Way, Alamosa, CO 81101 or to If you have questions please contact the Alamosa County Land Use Department at or (719) 589-3812.

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