Your Dollars At Work
The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) allows the monument to retain 80% of the fees collected for use on maintenance and infrastructure improvements, and interpretive services projects that directly benefit visitors. Beginning October 1, 2015, 100% of the entrance fees will be available for such projects and services.
Since the beginning of FLREA, White Sands has spent over $4,020,000 to enhance visitor services at the park, fund facility repair and maintenance, and provide expanded visitor amenities visitor programs. See below for a list of projects that have been funded or are planned for the future.
For information on the importance of White Sands National Monument to the local community's economy, please click here.
FLREA Projects at White Sands
Monument Newspapers and Maps - More than 100,000 copies of the monument's newspaper, Footprints, are printed each year for $5,000 using FLREA funds. These publications provide critical safety and visitor information and are provided for free to every visitor.
New Wayside Exhibits Along Dunes Drive - In late 2015, more than 30 new interpretive panels will be installed along Dunes Drive to enhance the visitor experience. These panels will highlight key safety messages for hiking, backcountry camping, and visiting the monument. In addition, they will share information about the monument that will help visitors understand more about the world's largest gypsum dunefield.
Wayfinding Signs - Directional and informational road signs were designed and fabricated. They will be installed using park entrance fees in 2015.
Condition Assessment of Historic Sites, Roads and Trails - The purpose of this project is to survey and document historic sites, roads and trails within the park. Known historic sites with features will be recorded. The historic sites, roads, trails and associated features will be recorded with condition assessments and determinations of eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. The sites and roads will be mapped and incorporated in to GIS. This work will build a knowledge base of park history and be incorporated into interpretive stories and programs. Planning for this project began in 2012.
Condition Assessment of Archaeological Sites - The purpose of this project is to survey and document archaeological sites within the monument. The sites will be mapped and incorporated in to GIS. The condition of these sites will also be assessed. Work will build knowledge base of park history and be incorporated into interpretive stories and programs. Planning for this project began in 2012.
Treatment of Non-Native Saltcedar - As an invasive species, saltcedar compromises not only the view of visitors, taking away from the pure white gypsum dunes, it also spreads rapidly and alters the dunefield's formation, threatening the stability of the dunes and the unique ecosystems that form the monument. Over 100 acres of the most concentrated stands of saltcedar (tamarisk) were treated. Through this project, spraying and cutting were used to treat the most dense stands throughout the monument. This project was completed in 2012.
Visitor Center HVAC System - A new high energy efficient programmable HVAC system was successfully installed in the Visitor Center and replaced the outdated 1998 system. Several energy-saving steps were taken to improve the system and make for a more climate-controlled atmosphere and comfortable building for visitors and staff. Planning for this project began in 2011 and was completed in early 2012.
New Exhibits in the Visitor Center - $581,196 of FLREA funds were used to plan, design, fabricate, and install new interactive exhibits in the visitor center. These exhibits provide visitors with opportunities to learn about the unique geology, plants, animals, and human history of the monument. Planning for this project began in 2009 and was completed with the installation of the exhibits in 2011.
New Vault Toilets - Two new vault toilets were installed at the Dune Life Nature Trail and at the park's Boardwalk trail. Both buildings include men's and women's restrooms and provide improved and modern facilities at convenient locations. This project was completed in 2010.
Entrance Station - The old entrance station was replaced to reduce traffic safety hazards, improve visitor safety and contact services, address employee health and safety concerns, accommodate increased visitor use, and improve park operations. The new fee collection station buildings were relocated further from U.S. Highway 70. This lengthened the stacking lanes to eliminate traffic interference in the highway and provided parking for staff and visitors. This project was completed in 2009.