2021 Conference – Alamogordo, NM – Mon-Wed, September 26-29

RMOWP’s annual conference is just around the corner (Sunday-Wednesday, September 26-29) with a good time for all planned in sunny Alamogordo, New Mexico.

In addition to photographing the glistening white gypsum sands of White Sands National Park, we’ll discover the real Wild West at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park. A must-see in the area, that we hope you’ll explore on your own, is Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, with more than 21,000 ancient petroglyphs. Other local attractions include the New Mexico Museum of Space History for a glimpse of the beginnings of America’s space program, the Tularosa Basin Museum of History, and of course the Toy Train Depot. Due to the ongoing pandemic, some of these attractions may have limited hours when we’re there, but we’ll try to get current information closer to the conference. 

Sunset at White Sands National Park near Alamogordo, New Mexico
© William Horton

Although New Mexico is relatively safe from Covid-19, with one of the highest rates of Covid-19 vaccinations in the country, the state, White Sands National Park, and RMOWP are being cautious. At this time, the state requires that masks be worn at indoor gatherings (except for medical and religious exceptions and while eating and drinking) so please bring your mask. Masks are also required in crowded outdoor gatherings in the national park. We will have extra face masks and face shields available. We also plan more outdoor activities than usual and we’ll practice social distancing as much as possible. 

Visit www.nps.gov/whsa for information on White Sands National Park, and check out www.alamogordonmtrue.com for more information about Alamogordo and the surrounding area.

Why Alamogordo?

Frenchy’s Cabin at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park © Don Laine

Why? Mainly because it’s the closest place to some of the most scenic and fascinating destinations in southern New Mexico. We’ll photograph the glistening white gypsum sands of White Sands National Park, explore Three Rivers Petroglyph Site with more than 21,000 ancient petroglyphs, discover the true Wild West at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, and drop in to the New Mexico Museum of Space History for a glimpse of the beginnings of America’s space program. And let’s not forget the Toy Train Depot. Plus, Alamogordo is Spanish for fat cottonwood tree—a bit of trivia we all should have tucked away.
Conference information will appear in upcoming issues of Rocky Mountain Outdoors.

Masks for All in National Parks – August 2021

In an effort to ensure the safety of national park visitors, employees, volunteers, and others during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the National Park Service (NPS) is requiring that everyone wear masks inside all NPS buildings, public transportation, and also in crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status or location.

“Keep in mind,” the park service said in its press release, “even in the outdoors, some park areas, overlooks, or trails may be crowded or narrow and physical distancing may not be possible. Be prepared with a mask if you cannot keep six feet from others.”

The park service said that individuals who violate the requirement may be subject to citations. Additional information and updates are available at individual park websites and www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

Trinity Site Tour First Saturday in Oct.

Those of you who want to explore more of the area might want to stay after conference and take advantage of the White Sands Missile Range’s autumn open house at Trinity Site, where the world’s first atomic bomb was tested in 1945. The Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce usually leads a caravan (at no charge) to the site, where you can see the Ground Zero Monument, the ranch house where the bomb was assembled, and other exhibits. The site is open to the public only two days a year – the first Saturdays of April and October.

Headquarters

Headquarters for the conference will be the Holiday Inn Express in Alamogordo, New Mexico, with a group rate of about $140, which includes a hot breakfast.