News: Camping at White Sands National Park
Story by Sgt. Jarred Woods
WHITE SANDS, N.M. – Camping trips are one of the many activities the Fort Bliss Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program sponsors for Soldiers and family members looking for something to do throughout the spring and summer weekends.
These over-night camping trips are at nearby White Sands National Park, located just over an hour from El Paso.
The FMWR usually plans a White Sands camping trip at least once a month, said Samuel Reyes, a recreational aid for the FMWR and Southwest Adventure.
“We try to plan the trips as close to the full-moon as possible to take advantage of the way the sand reflects the moon light,” he said.
The white-gypsum sand spans approximately 275 square miles, making it the largest deposit of its kind in the world. The views created by the sand deposits make it a highly sought after destination for more than 500,000 tourists, who visit the park each year.
“The first time I saw the white sands, I thought it was magnificent,” said 1st Lt. Wa Poung, a registered nurse at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. “It’s such a wide-open area, and the white sand - there’s nothing quite like it.”
The ever-changing sand dunes offer children and fun-loving adults hours of sledding. The park is also home to hiking trails and several accommodating camp sites with more than adequate areas for group and family activities.
At a minimal cost of only $10 per person or $35 per family, the FMWR supplies attendees with camping gear, to include tents and sleeping bags. Volleyball nets, sleds, horseshoes and other recreational equipment are also made available and an evening meal is provided. If you have your own gear, the cost is the same for food and other supplies. All pay camp fees of $6 per vehicle as transportation is not provided.
“The great thing about this trip is that the [FMWR] provided everything,” said Spc. Kuhanuola Kuewal, an avionics technician with the 501st Brigade Support Battalion, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division. “You don’t even need to have camping gear, plus they provided a cook out.”
The FMWR will host its last over-night camping trip to the White Sands National Park Sept. 14-15. For more information about this upcoming trip and other events, visit www.blissmwr.com, or contact the Roberto Loeza Soldier Activity Center at 744-1532.