SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Tourism Secretary Jen Schroer and Office of Outdoor Recreation director Axie Navas issued the following statements upon the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, designating White Sands National Monument in New Mexico's Otero County a national park:


Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham:

“This is wonderful news for New Mexico, especially southern New Mexico. National parks draw tourists, including international and out-of-state visitors, and the money they spend will be an economic boon for area businesses. I want to congratulate the members of the New Mexico congressional delegation – especially Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Xochitl Torres Small – for their hard work to make this happen. What an asset they’ve delivered for New Mexico. This is a priceless addition to our outdoor recreation portfolio.”


Tourism Secretary Jen Paul Schroer:

“Last year, over 600,000 people visited White Sands, making it one of our most popular attractions here in New Mexico. In 2018, New Mexico outperformed the national average for visits to state and national parks, demonstrating how our National Parks inspire travel. With the new designation of White Sands as a National Park, New Mexico will be able to take the marketing and promotion of our outdoor adventure experiences to new heights.”


Office of Outdoor Recreation director Axie Navas:

“You cannot visit White Sands and not be blown away by its remarkable beauty. And now, thanks to the tireless work of Sen. Martin Heinrich, Rep. Xochitl Torres Small and dozens of other committed New Mexicans, the area will finally get the national park status that it deserves. This designation is one more step elevating southern New Mexico among the world’s top outdoor-recreation destinations.”