White Sands in New Mexico just became national park number 62. It was re-designated; up until December 2019 it was White Sands National Monument. They’ll have to replace the sign!
A new name did not change how spectacular this place is; you can read all about this in our prior blog (click here). But what it does do is virtually guarantee higher visitation. It is still one of the 419 national park units, but there are lots of folks out there who specifically seek “national parks”. Now White Sands National Park will be on their bucket list.
Fun fact: the last national park was also created by re-designation and it was also sandy… Indiana Dunes National Park. Click here for our blog about that awesome park.
What’s New with White Sands National Park
As a National Park, rather than only a National Monument, now White Sands will be included in all sorts of publications that only include national parks – calendars, visitor guides, travel publications.
Re-designation usually will also mean that the National Park Service will have more money allocated to this park, allowing them to better protect this fragile area, improve facilities and develop more interpretive programs for visitors.
Improved Accessibility for White Sands National Park
The big change is access into the park. As we noted in our earlier blog, because White Sands was surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range, it had to be closed during missile tests.
The legislation to change this into a national park included a land exchange with the missile range. A few thousand acres moved from the management of the Department of the Army (DOA) to the Department of the Interior (DOI); and a few thousand acres moved from the management of the DOI to the DOA.
It was a win-win situation. The army has better control over the missile range and now the park will not have to be impacted by activities in the missile range and won’t need to be closed for safety during missile testing.
White Sands – National Park number 62 – is awaiting your visit!
Need Help Planning your Visits?
If you would like to explore this or other National Park Units, but need a bit help in the planning, please give us a call at (480) 609-3978. We are happy to offer customized trip planning.