The Papa Keal WSA consists of the western-facing sideslopes of the lower portion of the Sangre de Cristo Range. The sideslopes, which have been cut by intermittent streams that originate higher up in the Sange de Cristo Range, lead to lightly-rolling land at the base of the mountain. The streams have created many smaller valleys as they have flowed to the rolling land at the base. Dry streambeds offer a stair-step approach to the higher reaches of the range. Between the dense forests and winding valleys, this WSA provides great opportunities for solitude and unconfined recreation. The unusual shape and size of this WSA is due to congressional consideration of adjacent lands as proposed wilderness.
Total Area: 382 acres
Elevation Range: ~8,000 to ~8,200 feet
BLM Field Office: San Luis Valley
Designated: 1980 (Wilderness Study Area)
Location: The Papa Keal WSA is located in Alamosa County, approximately 20 miles northeast of Alamosa. It is adjacent to the Rio Grande National Forest and about one mile south of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument. Click here for a map.
Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of juniper-pine, pinyon-juniper, rabbitbrush, and grasses. Fauna includes mule deer, elk, black bear, various small mammals, and various raptors.
Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, and photography. For more information, visit the Recreation page. Please note that though unconfined recreation is encouraged in wilderness study areas, specific types of recreation may be barred from a specific area to prevent degradation of natural conditions.
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San Luis Valley Field Office | (719) 655-2547 | 46525 Highway 114, Saguache, CO 81149