White Sands officially becomes the 62nd national park

Last week, President Donald Trump signed the legislation, as seen here, designating Sands White National Park as 62when national park. Since 1933, the largest gypsum dune in the country has been a national monument. The recent signing of the Law on the authorization of national defense (the bill of defense expenses for 2020), with a provision on the White Sands, has now updated the national monument to its new one national park thus protecting its bright white sand dunes, which are visible even from outer space.

In 2018, a study realized on eight national monuments that have been modernized National parks found that redesignation increased visits by an average of 21 percent in the five years since the redesign. The projections further estimate that the White Sands redesign will bring in revenues of $ 7.5 million and $ 3.3 million in labor revenues.

Related: How national parks benefit the environment

Wondering why the provision was included in NDAA 2020? The reason comes from the White Sands National Monument, which shares land with White Sands missile missiles (WSMR), the long-range national military weapons test area, and the site of the first atomic bomb detonation. By 1963, NASA had set up the White Sands Test Facility at WSMR, which eventually became the main training ground for NASA spacecraft pilots and a rocket research test site.

However, the Sands White appeal goes beyond strategic military and aerospace history, extending to its geological, biological and anthropological assets. For example, the surreal beauty of the endless dunes makes the White Sands one of the natural wonders of Earth. Gypsum, which forms the dunes, is a common sedimentary mineral, usually formed by precipitation from extremely saline waters. Thus, the White Sands landscape has formed since Lake Otero has dried up for millennia. Currently, its predominantly desert habitat is unique wild life, with five endemic species and many well-adapted flora and fauna. From an archaeological point of view, the area has been hosted by hunter-gatherers for 10,000 years and even has the largest collection of fossilized prints from the planet's ice age.

"Our staff is very pleased to have the White Sands recognized as a national park and to re-enter the American public," he shared.
Marie Sauter, Superintendent of Sands White National Park. "We are so appreciated by our partners, local communities and congressional leaders who made this possible, and we look forward to continuing our success working together."

With national park 36 CFR 2.1 protections, desert sand and other resources cannot be removed from the White Sands. This ensures that the ecosystem thrives and remains in tact for future generations to enjoy.

+ National Park Service

Via EcoWatch

Image via National Monument for White Sands

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