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White Sands National Monument

 

 

 

Location: Otero Country, NM Map

Area: 581 km²

Info: (575) 679- 2599

Open: 8am- 7pm daily (5pm in winter months)

Closed: Dec. 25

Official site

 

 

 

Description of White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument is situated in Otero Country, New Mexico in United States. White Sands National Monument Historic District is a United States National Monument located 25 km southwest of Alamogordo, west of Otero County and northeastern Doña Ana County, state of New Mexico. It is located in the area of the Tularosa basin at an elevation of 2291 meters above sea level and comprises 710 km². White Sands National Monument is famous for being World's largest deposit of white gypsum that gives its glistering color.

 

The gypsum that makes up the White Sands lay at the bottom of a shallow sea that covered this region 250 million years ago. Eventually, the gypsum became marine-enriched stone, which became a gigantic dome some 70 million years ago, when the Rocky Mountains formed. About ten million years ago, the center of this dome began to collapse and formed the Tularosa Basin. The remaining edges of the dangling domed formation today form the San Andres Mountains and Sacramento Mountains.

 

The Mescalero Apache already lived in the area of White Sands National Monument before the arrival of the Europeans. Hispanic families started farming communities in the Tularosa area in 1861 and La Luz in 1863. The idea of creating a White Sands National Monument dates back to 1898, when a group from El Paso proposed the Mescalero National Park. In January of 1933, President Herbert Hoover created the Monument of the White Sands. The dedication and grand opening was held on April 29, 1934.

 

 

 

 

Fees and permits

Entrance fees are $3 per person, valid for seven days. Children 15 and under are free. An annual pass may be purchased for $20 which allows free park entrance for one year.

There are several passes for groups traveling together in a private vehicle or individuals on foot or on bike. These passes provide free entry at national parks and national wildlife refuges, and also cover standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. These passes are valid at all national parks including White Sands National Monument:

The $80 Annual Pass (valid for twelve months from date of issue) can be purchased by anyone. Military personnel can obtain a free annual pass in person at a federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over can obtain a Senior Pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site for $80, or through the mail for $90; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and age. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities. Seniors can also obtain a $20 annual pass.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities can obtain an Access Pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site at no charge, or through the mail for $10; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and permanent disability. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities.
Individuals who have volunteered 250 or more hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program can receive a free Volunteer Pass.
4th graders can receive an Annual 4th Grade Pass that allows free entry for the duration of the 4th grade school year (September-August) to the bearer and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle. Registration at the Every Kid in a Park website is required.
In 2018 the National Park Service will offer four days on which entry is free for all national parks: January 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), April 21 (1st Day of NPS Week), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day weekend).

 

 

 

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