The dunes have been here for thousands of years, but it was not until 1933 that it began to be preserved by the National Park Service. Today, White Sands has developed many ways of managing recreational activities while still protecting the White Sands. Volunteers and cooperating associations, like the Western National Parks Association, are key components in the teamwork that takes place to manage White Sands.
Establishment of White Sands National Park
On December 20, 2019, White Sands became the 62nd national park in the United States. The congressional legislation was in Subtitle E of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
Enabling Legislation for White Sands National Monument
Every unit of the national park system will have a foundational document to provide basic guidance for planning and management decisions—a foundation for planning and management. The core components of a foundation document include a brief description of the park as well as the park's purpose, significance, fundamental resources and values, other important resources and values and interpretive themes. The foundation document also includes special mandates and administrative commitments, an assessment of planning and data needs that identifies planning issues, planning products to be developed, and the associated studies and data required for park planning. Along with the core components, the assessment provides a focus for park planning activities and establishes a baseline from which planning documents are developed.
Foundation Document Overview
Every unit of the national park system will have a foundational document to provide basic guidance for planning and management decisions—a foundation for planning and management. The core components of a foundation document include a brief description of the park, park purpose, significance statements, fundamental resources and values, other important resources and values, and interpretive themes.
White Sands Purpose and Significance Statements
Every national park or monument has a reason why it was created. White Sands National Park is no different. Learn about the significance of White Sands and what the National Park Service protects here.
Primary Interpretive Themes for White Sands
Attaching meanings to places and things is a fundamental human trait. Story is the communication tool that most effectively facilitates exploration of resource meanings. Parks develop a set of overarching story summaries to organize the largest-scale ideas and meanings related to the park's resources. These summaries are called primary interpretive themes.
White Sands National Monument Visitor Study
This report describes the results of a visitor study at White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, NM conducted July 17-23, 2012 by the National Park Service (NPS) Visitor Services Project (VSP), part of the Park Studies Unit (PSU) at the University of Idaho.
This document provides a quick overview of key park data including management, infrastructure, geography, and park resources.
The purpose of the Superintendent's Compendium is to articulate the regulations that provide for the proper use, management, government, and protection of persons, property, and natural and cultural resources within areas under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service at White Sands National Park.
Designated Locations for First Amendment and Public Assembly Activities – Visitor Center
Designed first amendment/public assembly location(s) are limited to areas around the visitor center as designated on this map or other areas designated by an approved permit.
Designated Locations for First Amendment and Public Assembly Activities – Dunes Drive
Designed first amendment/public assembly location(s) are limited to areas along Dunes Drive as designated on this map or other areas designated by an approved permit.
Weddings at White Sands
Congratulations! So you've set a date and would like to take your wedding vows surrounded by the shimmering dunes of White Sands National Park. We know that you've got a lot to plan, so we've made sure that the process for reserving your wedding day is very simple.
Photography Before or After Hours FAQ
Many National Park Service areas may be entered any time, day or night, at sunrise or sunset to view wildlife. At White Sands National Park, we share our boundaries with the U.S. military at Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range. Due to security concerns, the park has specific hours of operation. These FAQs will assist you in planning your early morning or after monument hours photography trip.
Commercial Filming FAQ
Feature films, car commercials, fashion catalogs, motion and still photography all happen at White Sands National Park. The bright white sand dunes are a perfect background for commercial filming and photography. This "frequently asked questions" sheet will provide the basic information for commercial filming and photography at White Sands National Park.
From Mountains to Desert
From interpretation to resource management and facility management, volunteers are an integral part of the National Park Service. Without them, parks simply could not provide the public with a stellar experience. White Sands National Park is no different. To discover one volunteer's story and learn how you can become a volunteer, download or read the following brochure.
Want to be a VIP?
Do you enjoy travel, exploring, learning, and connecting with special places? Do you have hobbies you'd like to pursue in a new setting, such as photography, hiking or stargazing? Do you enjoy meeting new people from around the world and sharing the wonders of our national parks with them? If your answer is "yes" to any of these, you could make a great VIP—Volunteer in Parks!
Lost and Found in the Grand Canyon
When I first heard about the NPS Centennial campaign to FIND YOUR PARK, I was dubious about the slogan. Don’t we keep looking for the next park, and the next, while hoarding memories of those we’ve already driven through, walked in, saddled up for, paddled down? In fact, bagged? And the national parks are treasured as public lands. How does the possessive “your” figure in?
What is WNPA?
The Western National Parks Association is a non-profit cooperating association of the National Park Service. It operates bookstores at over 70 locations and develops products and publications to support the educational and research programs for the parks. Since 1938, WNPA has contributed more than $68 million to parks through store sales and the support of our members. WNPA produces more than a million pieces of free literature annually, including trail guides, newspapers, schedules, and brochures.
Last updated: February 4, 2020