ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico is celebrating the highest number of visits in more than a decade.
Park officials reported this week that 555,793 recreation visits were recorded at White Sands during the National Park Service’s Centennial Year in 2016. That’s an increase of nearly 12 percent over 2015 and the highest recorded since 1998.
National park sites across the country recorded 331 million recreation visits in 2016.
More recently, Carlsbad Caverns saw higher-than-average visitation for the 2017 spring break season, hosting over 42,000 people in the first three weeks of March.
The economic impacts of visitation to White Sands in 2016 are still being calculated. Officials said visitors in 2015 spent nearly $26 million in communities near the park and supported 387 local jobs.