CARLSBAD, N.M. – A bill has included language to redesignate a national monument in New Mexico that could now become the state’s next national park.
The National Defense Authorization Act proceeded through Congress with a conference report identifying the national monument as White Sands National Park, Carlsbad Current-Argus reported Tuesday.
The House and the Senate must now vote on the report before it is expected to reach President Donald Trump next week to be signed into law, said U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich.
The bill also said about 4 square miles of land within the monument would be transferred from Army management to that of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, officials said. In addition, more land would be added to the proposed national park, they said.
The Department of the Army would receive land previously managed by the Department of the Interior in exchange, officials said.
“We’ve really been making sure both sides were treated equitably, that the land swap makes sense, that it protects the resources and values of the park while at the same time facilitating the mission of White Sands Missile Range and the Department of the Army,” Heinrich said.