• The dunes in soft light

    White Sands

    National Monument New Mexico

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Closures and Missile Tests

    Upcoming Missile Tests: From time to time the missile range that surrounds us performs missile testing that may require the closure of the park or Highway 70. Please follow the link below for up to date information on closures More »

  • Summer Monument Hours

    The monument currently opens at 7 a.m. and closes roughly 1 hour after sunset. More »

  • Road Safety Corridor

    The first four miles of Dunes Drive is a road safety corridor. Slowing or stopping in the corridor is prohibited. Dune Life Nature and Playa trails are also temporarily closed. The staff of White Sands National Monument apologizes for the inconvenience.

Why Do We Have to Pay Entrance Fees?

White Sands National Monument is being cared for today and preserved for future generations by you, the American people. This dual objective - use and preservation - comes at a price: Protecting our natural and cultural heritage while ensuring that everyone visiting these areas has a safe, enjoyable and educational experience costs money.

Even as the number of visitors continues to climb due to the popularity of our park, government funding available for necessities such as road and building repairs, campground maintenance, visitor protection, and other services has not kept pace with demand. In 1996, to address these needs, Congress directed the U.S. Department of the Interior to implement the Recreation Fee Demonstration program in three of its agencies - the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The program will help spread some of the costs for managing these lands among those who use them.

Why the emphasis on recreational use fees?

Managing our public lands is a major financial investment. While most of that investment comes from the general tax base, those who use these areas for recreation derive a greater benefit from - and place a greater burden on - resources than the public at large. These new fees redistribute that burden so that users pay an increased share of the costs. We encourage you to participate in recreational activities; such experience will enhance your visit and create memories. But we also ask you to remember your role in keeping the outdoor recreational experience alive for others.

The Recreation Fee Demonstration Program will:

  • Allow a significant portion of the fees collected at a public area to be spent directly on behalf of that area.
  • Allow each agency to develop fair and equitable fee collection programs, whether the public areas are large or small, urban or wilderness, natural or historical.
  • Allow each agency to collect fees efficiently and to determine the activities to be covered by fees. In some cases, visitors will have to pay for activities that have never had an associated fee.

Recreation Use Fees

Some of the projects undertaken at White Sands National Monument since the inception of the program include:

  • Construction of new restrooms

  • Non-lethal removal of African Oryx

  • New picnic shelters

  • New shade structures

Future projects will be undertaken as funding becomes available.

The future of these public lands rests with all American citizens. The actions we take today will reflect the price we are willing to pay to pass these lands on to future generations, protected and in better health. We need and welcome your support. Thank you.

Did You Know?

Photo of hiker on the dunes

Only the top few inches of the gypsum dunes are made of loose sand. Rainwater falling on the dunes dissolves some of the gypsum and cements the sand grains together, creating a crude form of plaster of Paris. This makes the white sand dunes easy to walk on.