Porcelain Desert

Porcelain Desert
The White Sands National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located about 25 km (15 miles) southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Dona Ana County in the state of New Mexico, at an elevation of 4235 feet (1291 m). The area is in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin valley area and comprises the southern part of a 710-km² (275-mi²) field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals.

Porcelain Desert

Porcelain Desert
History
The first exploration was led by a party of US Army officers in 1849.  The Mescalero Apache were already living in the area at the time. Hispanic families started farming communities in the area at Tularosa in 1861 and at La Luz in 1863.

Porcelain Desert

Porcelain Desert
Preparation for a National Park
The idea of creating a national park here goes back at least to 1898, when a group in El Paso proposed a Mescalero National Park. Their idea was for a game hunting preserve, which conflicted with the idea of preservation held by the Department of the Interior, and their plan was not successful. In 1921-1922 Albert Bacon Fall, United States Secretary of the Interior and owner of a large ranch in Three Rivers near White Sands, promoted the idea of a national park there an "All-Year National Park" that, unlike more northerly parks, would be usable all year round. This idea ran into a number of difficulties and did not succeed. Tom Charles, an Alamogordo insurance agent and civic booster, was influenced by Fall's ideas. By emphasizing the economic benefits Charles was able to mobilize enough support to have the park created. 

Porcelain Desert

Porcelain Desert

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