The National Park Service says a man is dead after responding to the Alkali Flat Trail for a call for help Saturday afternoon.
The call came in around 4 p.m. to Park Rangers who responded and found the visitor unresponsive less than a mile from the trailhead. New Mexico Police assisted the Rangers and was able to confirm the man’s death and are coordinating with the Park Service to investigate the man’s death.
Rangers at White Sands say Saturday’s temperatures reached 99 degrees Fahrenheit and are once again reminding the public to use caution while hiking the dunes during extreme summer heat.
For summer hiking at White Sands, NPS recommends starting in the coolest part of the day, which is early morning or early evening. We recommend that visitors not start a hike when the temperature is at or above 85 degrees F. There is no shade or water along any of the trails in the park.
We also recommend that hikers bring at least one gallon of water per person per day and high-energy snacks. Wear a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and lightweight, loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and long pants to help protect skin from the sun. Always have a plan when you hike and tell someone who is not in your party where you are hiking and when you plan to return.
In 2015, a French couple visiting the park died along the trail in extreme heat. Their 9-year-old son survived and was able to call for help.