"White dune landscape, White Sands National Monument, 2016." by U.S. National Park Service , public domain

White Sands

National Park - New Mexico

White Sands National Park is located in the state of New Mexico on the north side of Route 70 about 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Doña Ana County. The park is situated at an elevation of 4,235 feet (1,291 m) in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin and comprises the southern part of a 275 sq mi (710 km2) field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. The gypsum dune field is the largest of its kind on Earth.

location

maps

Official visitor map of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Detail of the official visitor map of White Sands National Monument (NM) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Visitor Map Detail

Detail of the official visitor map of White Sands National Monument (NM) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of National Conservation Lands in Doña Ana County in the BLM Las Cruces District in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Doña Ana County - National Conservation Lands

Map of National Conservation Lands in Doña Ana County in the BLM Las Cruces District in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

brochures

Park Brochure of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Brochure

Park Brochure of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the Dunes Drive in White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Dunes Drive Map

Map of the Dunes Drive in White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Common Mammals of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Mammals

Brochure about Common Mammals of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about The American Badger in White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - The American Badger

Brochure about The American Badger in White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Ten Common Birds of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Ten Common Birds

Brochure about Ten Common Birds of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Featured Birds of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Featured Birds

Brochure about Featured Birds of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Common Tracks and Scat Found at White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Common Tracks and Scat Found at White Sands

Brochure about Common Tracks and Scat Found at White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Common Arachnids of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Arachnids

Brochure about Common Arachnids of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Common Insects of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Insects

Brochure about Common Insects of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Common Reptiles of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Reptiles

Brochure about Common Reptiles of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Field Notes about A Desert Galapagos at White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico, by William Conrod, with Erica Bree Rosenblum. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - A Desert Galápagos

Field Notes about A Desert Galapagos at White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico, by William Conrod, with Erica Bree Rosenblum. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure 'Desert in Color' about Wildflowers of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Desert in Color

Brochure 'Desert in Color' about Wildflowers of White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Native Plants of the Northern Chihuahuan Desert and White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).White Sands - Native Plants of the Northern Chihuahuan Desert

Brochure about Native Plants of the Northern Chihuahuan Desert and White Sands National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Sands_National_Monument White Sands National Park is located in the state of New Mexico on the north side of Route 70 about 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Doña Ana County. The park is situated at an elevation of 4,235 feet (1,291 m) in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin and comprises the southern part of a 275 sq mi (710 km2) field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. The gypsum dune field is the largest of its kind on Earth. Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Park preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here. White Sands National Park is located off of US Highway 70 between the cities of Las Cruces and Alamogordo. The park is about 15 miles west of Alamogordo and 52 miles east of Las Cruces. White Sands Visitor Center The visitor center was built in 1936 and is part of the historic district at White Sands. Inside you will find the park store as well as the museum for the park. White Sands National Park is located off of US Highway 70 between the cities of Las Cruces and Alamogordo. The park is about 15 miles west of Alamogordo and 52 miles east of Las Cruces. Backcountry Camping Due to rehabilitation of camping sites, backcountry camping is closed. Backcountry Camping Fee - Per Adult 3.00 Camping fees are in addition to the monument entrance fees. The per adult fee is for any persons 16 years of age and older. Backcountry Camping Fee - Per Child 1.50 Camping fees are in addition to the monument entrance fees. The per child fee is for any persons 15 years of age and younger. Backcountry Camping cBurghart A tent, backpack, and camera equipment at a backcountry camping site. For a primitive overnight experience out in the dunefield, backcountry camping at White Sands is an excellent choice. Sunset White dunes in foreground with sun setting behind mountain. Sunsets are one of the most popular times to visit White Sands. Visitors can experience sunset every day of the year. Aerial of Dunefield Aerial of white sand dunes. The dunes at White Sands cover 275 square miles of the Tularosa Basin. Ripples Close up view of ripples on a dune. The wind shapes and moves the dunes as a whole but gives each individual dune the texture of ripples. Fall Colors Cottonwood trees with orange leaves. Fall is a wonderful time to visit as most of our plants with leaves change beautiful colors. Shaded Dunes Grey shadows on dunes. As the sun changes its angle through the sky it allows shadow to roll across the dunes. White Sands New Mexico: The National Park Service, the US Army and the Atomic Bomb The future of White Sands, and for that matter the nation as a whole, reached a watershed in the spring of 1945. The sequence of events in the Tularosa basin from April to August 1945 created the "atomic age" tensions that bedeviled the monument for the next five decades. Trinity atomic bomb last Arthropod Inventory Survey in White Sands National Monument and Cuatrocienegas in Mexico The purpose of this research is to survey the arthropods of White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA, and Cuatrociénegas Protected Area, Coahuila, Mexico, specifically to discover new, unnamed and potentially endemic species. Collecting arthropods at night with an illuminated white sheet. June: A Month of Milestones The times are a changin’, and there’s no better time to honor those moments of change than in June. Over the course of America’s history, the month of June is filled with cultural changes, and some seasonal ones too. So just before the season changes and summer begins, take some time to visit these parks that commemorate extraordinary moments. Painting of suffragist on a horse It’s Alive! Biological Soil Crusts of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts It might come as a surprise to learn that in the sublime expanses of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, some of the most interesting life around can be found in the dirt right in front of your feet! Biological soil crusts form a living groundcover that is the foundation of desert plant life. Soil crust at White Sands National Monument Linking Dune Formation with Atmospheric Processes at White Sands NM Desert sand dunes interact strongly with external drivers, including wind, vegetation, and groundwater. Given the ubiquity of sand dunes on Earth’s deserts and on extraterrestrial environments, this research attempts to understand how dune fields respond to these complex external forces. Sand dune anchored by vegetation Constructing the Dune-Field Pattern at White Sands National Monument Sand dunes cover vast areas of the Earth’s desert regions and are widespread across Venus, Mars, and Saturn’s moon Titan. Sand dunes are very sensitive indicators of changing climate and environmental conditions, and landscapes created by sand dunes can provide a detailed record of past surface conditions on the planetary surfaces. LiDAR-derived digital elevation model showing the transition from flat area to dune field Replicated Ecological Speciation in White Sands Lizards When organisms adapt to a novel environment, a possible consequence is speciation (where one species splits into two or more new species). White Sands (the landscape feature) is an ideal system for studying adaptation and speciation. Two little striped whiptails, one lighter and one darker The Hearth Mounds of White Sands National Monument White Sands National Monument has been visited by human groups intermittently over the past 11,000 years. Due to the physical properties of gypsum, remnants of some of those occupations are preserved in a unique form. A map of the hearth mound site distribution Climate Change and the Chihuahuan Desert The Chihuahuan Desert Network is currently developing protocols to monitor several vital signs that may reflect current and future impacts of climate change. This brief offers a summary of how Chihuahuan Desert Network monitoring will detect future change. Smith Springs is one of many springs that serve as a water source for plants & animals in the CHDN. White Sands National Monument Reptile and Amphibian Inventory White Sands NM is located in south central New Mexico in the Tularosa Basin of the Chihuahuan Desert and is part of the largest white gypsum dune field in the world. While most of the park consists of gypsum sand dunes, there is an area of desert scrub and a large playa present on the western side of the park. The reptile and amphibian inventory took place in 2003 and 2004. Painted desert glossy snake navigating desert scrub 2011 Freeman Tilden Award Recipients Discover the innovative and exciting programs of the recipients of the national and regional 2011 Freeman Tilden Awards for excellence in interpretation. LIza Stearns White Sands as a Dust Emission Hotspot The Chihuahuan Desert is one of the most intense source areas of dust storms in the Western Hemisphere; and because white gypsum dust is often visible on weather satellite images on dry, windy days, the White Sands are one of the most notable sources of dust in the Chihuahuan Desert. Satellite image of dust blowing from the White Sands out onto the Great Plains Air Quality in the Chihuahuan Desert Three park units in the Chihuahuan Desert Network, Big Bend National Park (NP), Carlsbad Caverns NP, and Guadalupe Mountains NP are designated as Class I air quality areas under the Clean Air Act. Class I areas receive the highest protection under the act, and degradation of air quality must be minimal. Air quality concerns include atmospheric deposition effects and visibility impairment from fine particle haze. Rugged landscape under a partly cloudy sky at Big Bend National Park Dry Season Microbial Diversity and Functional Profiles in Lake Lucero Lake Lucero is a highly saline and seasonally aquatic playa; it is the source of the White Sands National Monument’s gypsum dunes of the Tularosa Basin in Southern New Mexico. Its combination of an acidic hot groundwater and alkaline, highly saline soil profile raises interesting questions on the genetic diversity of the soil microorganisms and their associated metabolic functions, especially related to their distribution with soil depth. Lake Lucero under a bright blue sky Monitoring Upland Vegetation and Soils in the Sonoran Desert and Chihuahuan Desert Networks Vegetation and soils are two of many natural resources monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Inventory & Monitoring (I&M). Learning about vegetation dynamics helps us to better understand the integrity of ecological processes, productivity trends, and ecosystem interactions that can otherwise be difficult to monitor. In NPS units of the American Southwest, three I&M networks monitor vegetation and soils using the scientific protocol described here. Quadrat used for biological soil crust sampling How Scientists Study the White Sands National Monument Fossil Tracks Clues from ancient plants and animals litter the shimmering white sands of New Mexico. For decades scientists and curious residents have found and recorded fossils in this area. Their studies add greatly to our knowledge of the animals that lived in this area millions of years ago. sloth trackway Module Conducts Wildland-Urban Interface Projects Throughout the Intermountain Region In 2013, the Saguaro Wildland Fire Module (WFM) managed multiple projects simultaneously in AZ, TX, and NM. WFMs are highly skilled and versatile fire crews that provide expertise in long-term planning, ignitions, holding, prescribed fire preparation and implementation support, hazardous fuels reduction, and fire effects monitoring. With their help, fire fulfills its natural or historic role to meet resource and management objectives and create fire-adapted communities. The Remarkable Endemism of Moths at White Sands National Monument An inventory of moths at White Sands National Monument has revealed a previously unknown concentration of endemic species. Euxoa lafontainei Much More than a Sand Box: Fossil Tracks from the Lakes of the World’s Largest Gypsum Dune Field Beginning in 2009 staff at White Sands National Monument began documenting Late Pleistocene vertebrate footprints. Under the leadership of the monument's chief of resources, David Bustos, thousands of fossil tracks of ice age mammals is now recognized as a megatracksite. A multidisciplinary team of scientists have been working to understand the sedimentology, stratigraphy, chronology and paleoenvironmental of the track bearing strata at White Sands NM. mural with pleistocene animals Two Lost Hikers Rescued Through Interagency Search and Rescue Two lost hikers were rescued in White Sands National Monument through interagency search and rescue with support from Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range. Holloman AFB provided an unmanned aerial vehicle that greatly narrowed the area of search. An Army air search and rescue unit out of White Sands provided additional air support and spotted the lost hikers. man walking towards black helicopter in the desert Southern Basin and Range The Southern Basin and Range is an extension of the Basin and Range Province centered on Nevada and the Great Basin and extending from southern Oregon to western Texas, and into northwest Mexico. Mountains and Desert in Guadalupe Mountains National Park Crystal Formation by Microorganisms in the Dunes and Soils at White Sands National Monument Beneath your feet as you walk across the gypsum dunes and soils of White Sands National Monument is an ecosystem of roots and millions and millions of microorganisms that live in the pore spaces between sand grains. Microbes and crystals Climate Monitoring in the Southern Plains, Sonoran Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert Climate is one of many ecological indicators monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Inventory & Monitoring (I&M). Climate data help scientists to understand ecosystem processes and help to explain many of the patterns and trends observed in other natural-resource monitoring. In NPS units of the American Southwest, three I&M networks monitor climate using the scientific protocol described here. Kayaking across a fl ooded parking lot, Chickasaw NRA, July 2007. National Park Service Commemoration of the 19th Amendment In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment the National Park Service has developed a number of special programs. This includes online content, exhibits, and special events. The National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS) announces the release of a story map that highlights some of these programs and provides information for the public to locate and participate. Opening slide of the 19th Amendment NPS Commemoration Story Map Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: Chihuahuan Desert Network Reptile and Amphibian Inventories In 2003 and 2004, the University of Arizona conducted an inventory of reptiles and amphibians (herpetofauna) in six National Park Service Chihuahuan Desert Network parks. Primary objectives of this inventory were to document reptile and amphibian species, map the distribution of all species found, and determine a rough relative abundance for each species. Trans-Pecos ratsnake Series: Defining the Southwest The Southwest has a special place in the American imagination – one filled with canyon lands, cacti, roadrunners, perpetual desert heat, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like Tombstone and Santa Fe. In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries – a land with its own style and its own pace – a land that ultimately defies a single definition. Maize agriculture is one component of a general cultural definition of the Southwest. Series: Park Paleontology News - Vol. 09, No. 2, Fall 2017 All across the park system, scientists, rangers, and interpreters are engaged in the important work of studying, protecting, and sharing our rich fossil heritage. <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/newsletters.htm">Park Paleontology news</a> provides a close up look at the important work of caring for these irreplaceable resources. <ul><li>Contribute to Park Paleontology News by contacting the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/common/utilities/sendmail/sendemail.cfm?o=5D8CD5B898DDBB8387BA1DBBFD02A8AE4FBD489F4FF88B9049&r=/subjects/geoscientistsinparks/photo-galleries.htm">newsletter editor</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/">Fossils & Paleontology</a> </li><li>Celebrate <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/">National Fossil Day</a> with events across the nation</li></ul> skull on the lawn at the national mall Series: Seasonal Inventory of Birds in Low Elevation Chihuahuan Desert Riparian Habitats In 2004, independent researchers began conducting a three-year inventory of birds in low-elevation riparian (stream-side) habitats in the National Park Service’s Chihuahuan Desert Network. The goals of this study were to (1) document the presence, richness, and abundance of bird species; (2) compare results to existing information about park birds and update park checklists; and (3) provide baseline data and site evaluations that may be used to develop bird monitoring programs in the Network. Bird survey site in Guadalupe Mountains National Park NPS Geodiversity Atlas—White Sands National Monument, New Mexico Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. sand dunes at sunset A New Resource for Researching America's Elephants Mammoths, mastodons, and other proboscideans are among the most familiar fossil organisms. An inventory complied by Jim Mead and others documents the occurrences of these animals in 63 National Park Service units. photo-illustration of a ranger standing next to a mammoth Series: Park Paleontology News - Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring 2021 All across the park system, scientists, rangers, and interpreters are engaged in the important work of studying, protecting, and sharing our rich fossil heritage. <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/newsletters.htm">Park Paleontology news</a> provides a close up look at the important work of caring for these irreplaceable resources. <ul><li>Contribute to Park Paleontology News by contacting the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/common/utilities/sendmail/sendemail.cfm?o=5D8CD5B898DDBB8387BA1DBBFD02A8AE4FBD489F4FF88B9049&r=/subjects/geoscientistsinparks/photo-galleries.htm">newsletter editor</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/">Fossils & Paleontology</a> </li><li>Celebrate <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/">National Fossil Day</a> with events across the nation</li></ul> park ranger in uniform The Intersecting Crossroads of Paleontology and Archeology: When are Fossils Considered Artifacts? Understanding human knowledge and attitudes (human dimensions) towards paleontological resources through the cooccurrence of fossils and artifacts and/or tribal consultation (archeological context) helps us better appreciate those human values, perspectives, and beliefs. This understanding is important to the management, protection, and interpretation of these non-renewable resources.  colorful arrowhead on black background Series: Intermountain Park Science 2021 Integrating Research and Resource Management in Intermountain National Parks Group of National Park Service staff and volunteers standing in front of a desert canyon. Fossil Footprints Across Our Parks / Huellas Fósiles a Través de Nuestros Parques Join us on a virtual hike to see fossil footprints across our national parks! As we travel back in time, we’ll discover stories of fantastic pasts and learn that fossil footprints are worthy of protection for the future. <br><br> ¡Únase a nosotros en una caminata para ver huellas fósiles en nuestros parques nacionales! Mientras viajamos a través del tiempo, descubriremos historias de pasados fantásticos y aprenderemos que las huellas fósiles merecen ser conservadas para el futuro. Two primitive tetrapods, looking something like giant lizards walking through desert sand dunes. Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios. Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background Challenging The Ranger Image In spite of programs to encourage hiring of individuals with disabilities, it was often others’ misconceptions or discomfort that prevented women with disabilities from getting National Park Service (NPS) jobs. Those hired in the 1970s and early 1980s brought diverse skillsets and new perspectives to the workforce. Like the earliest women rangers in the 1910s and 1920s, they often only had short-term positions. They all challenged ideas of what it takes to be a park ranger. Ranger Vicky White in a wheelchair with a visitor and man in military dress.

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