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Outdoor Updates: There’s a New National Park in New Mexico

Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have created the world's largest gypsum dunefield.

There’s a new national park in New Mexico

If you’ve got a goal of visiting all of the nation’s national parks, there’s a new one to add to your list. White Sands, which has been a national monument since 1933, is now a national park. The new park is located 220 miles south of Albuquerque and is the largest dune field in the world.

Beginning in the spring, visitors to White Sands National Park will be able to hike and camp in the backcountry. Thanks to the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, visitors will be able to do so without hearing missile tests, something the national monument had to deal with on a regular basis.

White Sands is the country’s 62nd national park.

Boaters in Florida killed more manatees in 2019 than any other year

According to preliminary data from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 129 manatees were killed from January 1 through December 13, 2019 after being hit by boats. It’s a new record in manatee deaths by boaters. In 2018, boats killed 125 manatees. 

Florida does not require a boating license to operate most watercraft. In order to keep manatees safe while operating a boat, the Save the Manatee Club recommends wearing polarized sunglasses to eliminate the glare of the sun in order to better see beneath the surface of the water, staying in deep channels of water while boating, and avoiding boating over seagrass beds and shallow areas where manatees might be eating.

Human skeleton found in Joshua Tree National Park

Human remains have been found in a remote area of Joshua Tree National Park, the National Park Service announced. The remains were found near the 49 Palms Oasis area of the park and were discovered after a cooperating agency notified the park service that they “may have found evidence of human remains while analyzing photographs of the area taken last summer,” the NPS said in a statement. “The discovery is in a remote, rocky, steep location away from any trails.”

There were no personal identification items located on the skeleton, but a hiker went missing in July 2018 in the area that the skeleton was found. Paul Miller, of Canada, went on one last hike before he and his wife were to return home. When Miller failed to return from his hike, more than 600 people searched for 6,000 hours to locate him, but he was never found. 

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