Bill could turn White Sands into New Mexico’s next national park

CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – A proposal has been added to the National Defense Authorization Act that includes a move to designate White Sands National Monument as a national park.

National parks status typically highlights the area’s recreational benefits, while monuments focus on historic or scientific interests. Lawmakers say the change could draw more visitors, and more money to the New Mexico economy.

“When people think of an iconic landscape in southern New Mexico, they think about White Sands and having it elevated to national park status is really something that should have happened decades ago,” Sen. Martin Heinrich said.

Sen. Heinrich says the changes would also include a land swap between the monument and White Sands Missle Range.