A heritage area is both a place and a concept. Physically, heritage areas are regions with concentrations of significant natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational resources. Most of the properties in a heritage area are in private ownership and will remain in private ownership. Heritage areas are places known for their unique culture and identity, as well as for being good places to live and visit.
With 11,000 years of documented human habitation, the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is a crossroads of the centuries. Here a unique blend of Native American, Hispano and Anglo settlement is reflected in the diversity of the people, art and traditions. The geographic isolation of our high desert valley and the peoples' enduring ties to the land have given rise to a rich cultural heritage and ensured its preservation. The area's fertile cultural landscape is complemented by remarkable natural resources, including the mighty Rio Grande, majestic Rocky Mountain peaks, Great Sand Dunes National Park, National Wildlife Refuges, and the high mountain desert, all of which lend the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area an unparalleled beauty that offers a sense of retreat and a powerful source of inspiration for visitors.