Bruneau Dunes State Park
|Bruneau Dunes State Park|
|Idaho State Park|
Bruneau sand dunes
|- elevation||2,470 ft (753 m)|
|Area||4,800 acres (1,942.5 ha)|
|Management||State of Idaho Parks and Recreation|
|IUCN category||V - Protected Landscape/Seascape|
Bruneau Dunes State Park is a state park of Idaho, USA, featuring several large sand dunes and a small lake. The park is located south of Mountain Home, Idaho, outside of Bruneau. The park is the site of North America's highest single-structured sand dune which is approximately 470 feet (140 m) high. (North America's highest multistructured dune is at Great Sand Dune National Park in Colorado and is approximately 660 feet (200 m) higher than its immediate base.) The park is also the site of the Bruneau Dunes Observatory, where visitors can use a telescope for stargazing.
Reportedly the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America rises to 470 feet (140 m) high above small lakes. The dunes at Bruneau Dunes State Park are unique in the Western Hemisphere. Other dunes in the Americas form at the edge of a natural basin. The Bruneau dunes form near the center. The basin has acted as a natural trap for over 12,000 years. The dunes may have started with sands from the Bonneville Flood about 15,000 years ago. The prevailing winds blow from the southeast 28 percent of the time and from the northwest 32 percent of the time, keeping the dunes fairly stable. Unlike most dunes, these do not drift far.
Flora and fauna
The state park includes desert, dune, prairie, lake and marsh habitat. Desert wildlife is prominent along with birds of prey and waterfowl. Fishing for bass and bluegill is popular in the park's small lake. Only non-motorized canoes, rafts and float tubes are allowed.
Activities include fishing, birdwatching, camping, hiking, swimming and viewing the stars at the public observatory. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the dunes but climbing and sledding are permitted. There are 7-mile and 9-mile horseback riding trails around the dunes. An educational center offers natural history displays and a gift shop. The astronomical observatory is open Friday and Saturday evenings mid-March through mid-October. Two cabins, 82 RV sites (with water/electricity) and 32 standard sites are available year round. An equestrian overnight facility, with corrals, is also available.
Land for the park was purchased under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act in May 1967. Additional land was acquired by the Department in 1980 and in 1984, bringing the total area to 4,800 acres (19 km2).