LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – Visiting White Sands has been a tradition for many families during the holidays. At the start of the New Year, the newly re-designated national park was busy despite the rain on Thursday.
White Sands National Park officials hope the park’s new status will draw more tourists in 2020 as well as boost the economy.
“I think we will see an increase in visitation and I think that’s great. One reason is, once you become a national park there’s just more awareness,” said Kelly Carroll a Park Ranger.
Back in the 1930s, White Sands was recognized as a national monument. However, back then it only had one attraction, the white sand.
“It had one significant feature and of course that was the white sand dune fields and that is the traditional definition of a national monument it has a significant feature,” said Carroll. “The traditional definition of a national park is that it has multiple significant features and that’s what White Sands is today.”
On December 20th, 2019 it officially became a national park after President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year of 2020 — making White Sands America’s 62nd National Park in the country.
People travel from all around the world to visit the park. Kathy Gable from North Carolina said she stopped by the park in hopes of convincing her son to get married there.
“Today I stopped by to bring the dogs here for a photoshoot so I could send it to them and maybe like come on Ashely and Tim get married here,” Kathy said, who was visiting New Mexico for the Holidays.
If you plan on visiting the park in 2020 you can expect higher prices. The fee to enter the park will increase by $5. Park Rangers said it hasn’t gone into effect yet, but within the next few weeks prices will go up.
- Vehicle fee raised to $25
- Annual pass now $45
- $4 million collected over the last 10 years