Colorado - Ryan Kost

San Luis

The San Luis Valley in South Central Colorado is an alpine desert lying over 7,000 feet and larger than the state of Connecticut. It contains the highest sand dunes North America, is brimming with migratory birds, maintains a deep ancestral heritage, is home to the famed Rio Grand scenic train ride and is strikingly beautiful with seven 14,000+ peaks looming over the valley floor. Seemingly arid, it sits atop many mineral rich aquifers that make the region highly productive agriculturally. Fun fact, it was the first place outside of South America to successfully grow quinoa. However, there is another side to the story. The valley consistently is rated as one of the poorest areas in Colorado with poverty levels frequently exceeding 25%. Attracting and maintaining an educated workforce has proven to be a arduous task.

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