ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – The majority of national parks are now open across the country but New Mexico’s two national parks are still closed. With air travel way down, this is expected to be the summer of the family road trip. It’s easy to understand why Carlsbad Caverns is still closed because it’s an enclosed space.
However, White Sands National Park‘s closure doesn’t make sense to locals in Alamogordo, who are eagerly waiting for it to reopen, to stimulate the economy once again. “It’s absolutely been devastating to the traffic coming to our community, using our hotels and all those kind of things,” says GB Oliver, the Executive Director of the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce.
White Sands’ website still shows the national park is closed because of the pandemic. The National Park Service says it is working with the CDC, FEMA, and local state health authorities to determine when each park should open.
So far, Oliver says he has no idea when White Sands will reopen. He says it makes no sense for the park to be closed because it’s a wide-open space. On top of that, his office answers more than thirty calls a day from travelers asking when they can visit the park. “You don’t have huge clusters of people, various places. It’s a huge, huge facility. Wide-open sunshine,” says Oliver.
Tourism officials in Las Cruces also say White Sands’ closure is hurting their economy. KRQE News 13 asked the governor’s office if they want the National Park Service to reopen White Sands, but did not get a response.
A White Sands spokesperson says they are in the middle of working on a plan to reopen, but they do not have a date just yet. They say the plan will include safety precautions for visitors and staff.
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