White Sands officials pleased with new park designation

Written by on December 26, 2019

White Sands officials say they’re pleased with its new park designation, which came via President Donald Trump’s signature on defense legislation enacted by Congress Friday.

Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which included a provision that changed the southern New Mexico site’s name from White Sands National Monument to White Sands National Park.

“Our staff are very excited for White Sands to be recognized as a national park and to reintroduce ourselves to the American public,” said White Sands Superintendent Marie Sauter in a statement Saturday. “We are so appreciative of our partners, local communities, and congressional leaders who made this achievement possible and look forward to continued success working together.”

White Sands, established in 1933 by President Herbert Hoover, is known for having the world’s largest gypsum dunefield and largest collection of Ice Age fossilized footprints, according to the statement.

The park, the statement added, “tells more than 10,000 years of human presence, all while providing memorable recreational opportunities.”

White Sands becomes the nation’s 62nd designated national park and local officials believe it could spur the economy due to the outdoor recreation industry.

White Sands and the U.S. Army, which operates an adjacent missile range, will conduct a land exchange as part of the deal.

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