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|Town of Crestone |
|Coordinates: 37°59′40″N105°41′47″W / 37.994497°N 105.696273°W Coordinates: 37°59′40″N105°41′47″W / 37.994497°N 105.696273°W |
|County||Saguache County |
|Incorporated||January 24, 1902 |
|• Type||Statutory Town |
|• Mayor||Kairina Danforth|
|• Town Clerk||Allyson Ransom|
|• Treasurer||Lisa Cyriacks|
|• Total||0.385 sq mi (0.996 km2)|
|• Land||0.385 sq mi (0.996 km2)|
|• Water||0.000 sq mi (0.000 km2)|
|Elevation||7,923 ft (2,415 m)|
|• Density||367/sq mi (142/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−07:00 (MST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−06:00 (MDT)|
|ZIP Code |
|GNIS feature ID||0192409|
|Highways||Take County Road T 12 miles east from State Highway 17 at Moffat|
The Town of Crestone is a Statutory Town in Saguache County, Colorado, United States.  The town population was 141 at the 2020 United States Census.  Crestone is a small village at the foot of the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Range, in the northern part of the San Luis Valley. Crestone was platted in 1880 by George Adams, owner of the neighboring Luis Maria Baca Grant No. 4. In the 1970s the Baca Grande, a large land development, was established on the lands of the Baca Grant to the south and west. Several hundred homes have been built there.
The Crestone area, which includes the Baca Grande and Moffat, Colorado, is a spiritual center for some religions, including: a Hindu temple, a Zen center, several Tibetan Buddhist centers, and miscellaneous New Age happenings. Much of this spiritual development was catalyzed by the couple Hanne Strong and Maurice Strong in the 1970s, who set out to make it an interfaith center. 
Activities in the area include camping, fishing, hiking, climbing, as well as spiritual explorations.
Crestone is named for the 14,000-foot peaks that lie just east of the town: Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. The Crestones, as they are known collectively, in turn, took their name from the Spanish word crestón, which, according to Walter Borneman and Lyndon Lampert's book A Climbing Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners, means: “the top of a cock’s comb”; “the crest of a helmet”; or, in miners’ jargon, “an outcropping of ore”.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(February 2011)
The first settlement in the Crestone area occurred after the American Civil War with the granting of the Luis Maria Baca Grant No. 4 in 1860 to the heirs of the original Baca Grant at Las Vegas, New Mexico. Title to the grant at Las Vegas was clouded by a second grant of the same land to the residents of Las Vegas, the Bacas having abandoned their grant after the deaths of the founder to a Mexican soldier in 1827 and of his oldest son at the hands of the Navajo in 1835. The Baca heirs were offered alternative lands from the public lands of the United States.  The square tract selected is 12.5 miles (20.1 km) on a side south of Saguache County Road T south of Crestone. The Bacas deeded the land to their attorney, but it soon passed by tax sale to a third party. The ranch headquarters were on Crestone Creek to the southwest of Crestone. The Baca Grant was one of the first large tracts of land to be fenced in the West and in its heyday was the home of prize Hereford cattle.
In addition to ranching, there was some mining in the area to the east and south of Crestone of small shallow iron oxide copper gold ore deposits. In 1880, the town of Crestone was platted by George Adams, the owner of the Baca Grant. In 1900, with the help of Eastern investors, George Adams ignited a minor boom, reopening one of the more promising gold mines and building a railroad spur to the town and the mines along the Range south of town. However, lacking good ore, the boom was short lived. A long period of decline followed.
By 1948, Crestone had declined to its post-war population of 40, mostly retirees and cowboys who worked on the Grant, a nickname for the Baca Grant. Many of the old cabins were used as vacation homes. By 1971, the Baca Grant came into the ownership of a corporation which subdivided a portion of the Grant, creating the Baca Grande, a subdivision originally platted for about 10,000 lots. At great expense, underground utilities were installed and roads built. However, sales lagged and by 1979 the development was considered a liability by the corporation. Maurice Strong, owner of a controlling interest and his fiancée, Hanne Marstrand, visited the development and "fell in love with it". They were inspired to create a world spiritual center and began granting parcels of land to traditional spiritual organizations.
The population gradually began to increase and by 2006 several hundred homes had been built and a number of small spiritual communities had become established. As the Baca Grande contained no provision for business uses, Crestone became the business center of the community and, having enacted a sales tax, was in a position to finance further improvements.
Crestone is located near the 38th parallel, in the San Luis Valley in south central Colorado. It is platted on a quarter section of land, or 160 acres (0.65 km2), on the alluvial fan of North Crestone Creek. Much of the land near the creek where the main part of the city sits, is well watered in normal times, but during a prolonged drought the creek may dry up and underground water levels may fall.
At the 2020 United States Census, the town had a total area of 246 acres (0.996 km2), all of it land. 
Saguache County Road T is the main road into Crestone. It is a county road. It is "T" in a series of alphabetically named east-west roads which begin at State Highway 112, the south boundary of Saguache County, which would be Road A, if it were not a state highway. Road T is a through road across the valley, crossing U.S. Highway 285 at Swede's Corners about 6 miles south of Saguache, Colorado but is paved only from Moffat, Colorado east 12.5 miles to Crestone, Colorado.  The eastern portion of Road T forms the north boundary of the Baca National Wildlife Refuge.
Mountain terrain east of Crestone is managed by the Rio Grande National Forest including part of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Public lands at the foot of the mountains including the forested public land surrounding Crestone is managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management. The combined office of the United States Forest Service and the BLM is in Saguache, Colorado, the county seat.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Census data is for the Town of Crestone; most people in the Crestone area live in the Baca Grande, a large land development which lies to the south and west of the town.
The following is derived from the US census and covers only the town itself, thus giving a misleading idea of the area. About half of the homes in Crestone itself are used only on a seasonal basis. The Crestone community is much larger, consisting also of several hundred homes in the Baca Grande subdivision, the surrounding rural area, and the small town of Moffat, Colorado. The Moffat School District NO. 2 operates a public school in Moffat and the Crestone Charter School in Crestone. 
As of the census  of 2000, there were 73 people, 45 households, and 18 families residing in the town. The population density was 290.8 inhabitants per square mile (112.3/km2). There were 79 housing units at an average density of 314.7 per square mile (121.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.9% White, 4.1% from other races. 1.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 45 households, out of which 8.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.9% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 60.0% don't fit into the above categories. 48.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.62 and the average family size was 2.22.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 8.2% under the age of 18, 4.1% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 45.2% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 52 years. For every 100 females there were 102.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $31,250, and the median income for a family was $40,000. Males had a median income of $22,813 versus $27,917 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,291. There were 18.8% of families and 19.7% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.
Crestone has become internationally known as a locus for a large number of many different religious and spiritual traditions. Accommodation of spiritual pilgrims and eco-tourists is the major industry in Crestone. Crestone's development as a spiritual and intellectual center was initiated by Maurice Strong, a multimillionaire businessman and United Nations Undersecretary, and his wife, Hanne Marstrand Strong. Using land acquired from the corporations Strong controlled they established the Manitou Foundation and Manitou Institute, which, according to its website, "provides and grants and some financial support in Crestone/Baca, Colorado, to qualified religious and spiritual projects." Grants of land from the foundation were made to a number of spiritual and intellectual centers in the area. 
Spiritual centers in Crestone:
|Buddhist (Zen)||Crestone Mountain Zen Center founded by Zentatsu Richard Baker||Sōtō|
|Dharma Ocean Retreat Center founded by Reginald Ray||Karma Kagyu|
|Karma Thegsum Tashi Gomang founded by the 16th Karmapa||Karma Kagyu|
|Mangala Shri Bhuti founded by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche||Nyingma|
|Vajra Vidya founded by Thrangu Rinpoche||Karma Kagyu|
|Yeshe Khorlo founded by Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche||Nyingma|
|Yeshe Rangsal Retreat Center founded by Tsokyni Rinpoche||Drukpa Kagyu|
|Hindu||Haidakhandi Universal Ashram ||Haidakhan Babaji|
|Sri Aurobindo Learning Center||Sri Aurobindo|
|Temple of Consciousness Ashram||Humanity in Unity|
|Other||Academy of On||Academy of On|
|The Shumei International Institute in Crestone Colorado||Shumei International Institute|
|Chamma Ling founded by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche||Bön|
Intellectual and spiritual centers of historical interest:
|Nature of organization||Organization||Type of organization|
|Nonprofit organization||Manitou Foundation and Manitou Institute |
|New age think tank||Lindisfarne Association||New Age|
|Liberal think tank||Aspen Institute|
|Liberal arts college||Baca Campus of Colorado College |
|Christian||The Spiritual Life Institute and Nada Hermitage Retreat Center||Roman Catholic (Carmelite) |
|Primary and Secondary||The Crestone Charter School||Charter School|
|The Church Ministry of Mother of All Creation||Love Has Won|
Emergency services for the town of Crestone and the Baca Grande are provided by the Crestone Volunteer Fire Dept. and the Baca-Crestone Ambulance Service. 
The Crestone End of Life Project provides open-air cremation and end of life support. CEOLP is a non-denominational community-based group promoting informed end-of-life choices and supporting their fulfillment. Cost is modest but is available only to the 1,000 or so people who live in the local community. 
The Annual San Luis Valley Energy Fair is held in Crestone's town parks over Labor Day weekend each year. The fair features ideas and products that relate to environmental sustainability such as solar power and straw bale construction as well as booths offering food and local products. Crestone hosts an annual Artists Open Studio Tour during the first weekend in October, allowing for visits to the many artist's studios in the area. Food and local products are offered regularly at the Saturday Market which happens in the middle of town in Little Pearl Park every Saturday during the summer.  Crestone has a free box which is enthusiastically supported by the community. 
Crestone has historically been a deer park; Mule deer are commonly seen grazing in yards in town. Black bears are also common, but usually only at night when they raid apple trees and the dumpsters at the cafes and stores in downtown Crestone. In 2011 a bear with two cubs was frequently seen during the day. This bear, which was generally well-behaved other than raiding trash, was killed by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources following a bear attack on a tethered goat. Local sympathizers complained bitterly the wrong bear had been killed, receiving extensive coverage through Channel 9 in Denver which was distributed nationally by the Associated Press,  prompting an investigation of the incident by the Division of Parks and Wildlife and possible re-evaluation of management of bears in mixed rural-urban communities such as Crestone.  An internal investigation by the Division of Parks and Wildlife came to the conclusion that the right bear had been shot. 
The San Luis Valley is a region in south-central Colorado with a small portion overlapping into New Mexico. The valley is approximately 122 miles (196 km) long and 74 miles (119 km) wide, extending from the Continental Divide on the northwest rim into New Mexico on the south. It contains 6 counties and portions of 3 others. It is an extensive high-elevation depositional basin of approximately 8,000 square miles (21,000 km2) with an average elevation of 7,664 feet (2,336 m) above sea level. The valley is a section of the Rio Grande Rift and is drained to the south by the Rio Grande, which rises in the San Juan Mountains to the west of the valley and flows south into New Mexico. The San Luis Valley has a cold desert climate but has substantial water resources from the Rio Grande and groundwater.
Saguache County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 6,368. The county seat is Saguache.
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Crestone Peak is the seventh-highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,300-foot (4,359 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Crestones and the second-highest summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range after Blanca Peak. The summit is located in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness of Rio Grande National Forest, 5.0 miles (8.1 km) east by south of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States.
The Baca National Wildlife Refuge is a 78,697-acre (31,848 ha) United States National Wildlife Refuge located in southern Colorado. It is within the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.
Colorado's 3rd congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of Colorado. It takes in most of the rural Western Slope in the state's western third portion, with a tendril in the south taking in some of the southern portions of the Eastern Plains. It includes the cities of Grand Junction, Durango, Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Ignacio, and Pueblo. The district is currently represented by Republican Lauren Boebert.
Kit Carson Peak is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. Officially designated Kit Carson Mountain, the 14,171-foot (4,319 m) fourteener is located 5.2 miles (8.4 km) east by south of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States. The name Kit Carson Mountain is used for both the massif with three summits, or to describe the main summit only. The mountain is named in honor of frontiersman Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson. The Crestones are a cluster of high summits in the Sangre de Cristo Range, comprising Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, Challenger Point, Humboldt Peak, and Columbia Point. They are usually accessed from common trailheads.
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TheNewhall Land and Farming Company is a land management company based in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California, United States. The company is responsible for the master community planning of Valencia and previously developed other areas such as Canyon Country and Newhall which together with Saugus and Valencia would merge to create the city of Santa Clarita in 1987. The company is also responsible for the management of farm land elsewhere in the state.
The Luis Maria Baca Grant No. 4, south of Crestone, Colorado, was a large land grant made in 1860 by the United States to the heirs of the original Vegas Grandes Grant at Las Vegas, New Mexico. Title to the grant at Las Vegas was clouded by a second grant of the same land. The Baca heirs were offered alternative lands from the public lands of the United States. The largest of the tracts selected, near what is now Crestone, was 12.5 miles (20.1 km) on a side and was located to the south of what is now Saguache County Road T, about 1-mile (1.6 km) south of the 38th parallel. The Bacas deeded the land to their attorney, but it soon passed by tax sale to a third party. The ranch headquarters was on Crestone Creek to the southwest of Crestone. The Baca Grant was one of the first large tracts of land to be fenced in the West and in its heyday was the home of prize Hereford cattle.
Mount Adams is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,937-foot (4,248 m) thirteener is located in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, 5.1 miles (8.2 km) east by north of the Town of Crestone, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating San Isabel National Forest and Custer County from Rio Grande National Forest and Saguache County.
The Sangre de Cristo Wilderness is a long and narrow wilderness area covering 220,803 acres (893.56 km2) of the Sangre de Cristo Range centered about Saguache and Custer counties, Colorado. Smaller areas are located in Fremont, Alamosa, and Huerfano counties. The wilderness area is located on in the San Isabel and Rio Grande National Forests and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The wilderness area is home to several fourteeners and quite a few thirteeners. Crestone Needle is considered the most difficult.
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...the College leased three condominium units and the conference center from the Aspen Institute and a fundraising campaign was initiated. In 1990, [with the help of a trustee], a townhouse, the conference center, and adjacent land was purchased.