Journalist • Photographer

Bobby Magill is a senior science writer for Climate Central in New York and a journalist who has covered fracking and the environment in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001. 

Tongue-twisting the San Luis Valley

Some friends of mine and I were discussing the pronunciation of various Colorado place names, including the various ways to speak "San Luis Valley," and it reminded me of my all-too-distant last trip there, in Sept. 2009. The valley is home to Great Sand Dunes National Park, and it's one of the most surreal landscapes this side of Death Valley. If some snow would finally fall in Colorado, I'm looking forward to the possibility of taking a wintertime sprint up the dunes... buried in a foot of snow. On a good day, this is what makes Colorado's San Luis Valley a superlative landscape:

Some pronounce the name of the valley as if it were inspired by the French: "San Lewee"

Others seem to be inspired by valley's Spanish heritage, but bastardize it: "San LEWiss."

Having lived in Taos, New Mexico, just south of the San Luis Valley, my tongue tends to say it this way: "San LewEES."

I pronounce Great Sand Dunes this way: "Awesome."