ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The push to elevate a vast expanse of shifting white sand dunes in New Mexico to national park status is being renewed.
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Xochitl Torres Small are reintroducing the legislation, saying turning White Sands National Monument into a national park could draw more visitors and infuse more money into the region’s economy.
The legislation also comes as New Mexico formalizes its efforts to join other western states in tapping opportunities for more outdoor recreation.
White Sands was established as a monument in 1933 by President Herbert Hoover to preserve the dunes and additional features of scenic, scientific and educational interest.
Supporters say the monument contains a more diverse set of archaeological and scientific resources than were first known, including recently discovered Ice Age fossilized footprints and sloth tracks.
Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press