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Department of Family and Community Medicine

Regional Areas of Interest

Hueco Tanks State Park

At Hueco Tanks, visitors are surrounded by the vestiges of thousands of years of human history and millions of years of natural history.  Hueco Tanks holds meaning for diverse groups of visitors. Hiking, picnicking, rock-climbing, camping, interpretive tours, birding and annual special events are among the available activities. The site also continues to be used for traditional Native American cultural activities and performances.  On pictograph tours, guides lead visitors to various areas of the site, showcasing examples of pictographs representing three distinct cultures. Guides also provide information about the site's geology, flora, fauna and history.

Franklin Mountains State Park

The Franklins are the largest sustained mountain range in Texas, with the summit of North Franklin Peak rising to an elevation of 7,192 feet, approximately 3,000 feet above the city below. On the eastern flank of North Franklin Mountain lie the remnants of our nation's only tin mining, milling and smelting operation, which was active from 1910 through 1915. Two hiking trails are currently accessible off of Loop 375/Trans-Mountain Road. Work is underway for a trail network that will ultimately offer a system of more than 100 miles of trails. Rock climbing is one of the park's newest recreational activities, with established climbing areas in McKelligon Canyon.  A limited number of primitive tent-camping sites are available in the Tom Mays Unit. Traditional sites allow for tents placed on the ground. Five self-contained RV sites have also been added.

White Sands National Monument

Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dune field, along with the plants and animals that live here.  Formal recognition for the uniqueness of the white sands of southern New Mexico came on January 18, 1933, when President Herbert Hoover, acting under the authority of the "Antiquities Act of 1906", proclaimed and established a White Sands National Monument. The monument story, however, can be traced to the waning years of the 19th century and is linked to the nationwide growth of the "national park" idea that followed the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872.

Ski Apache, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Ruidoso, New Mexico is high in the Rocky Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. Towering above the Village of Ruidoso is Sierra Blanca at 11,981 feet above sea level and the New Mexico ski resort, Ski Apache. Sierra Blanca Peak is the highest point in southern New Mexico. Ruidoso weather is mild and great for enjoying the outdoors and the natural wonders that abound in Ruidoso, Lincoln County and the Lincoln National Forest.  The Ruidoso Downs Race Track is home to the richest quarter horse race in the world; the All American Futurity. Ski Apache is the perfect ski resort for both beginning and advanced skiers and Ski Apache is New Mexico's premiere ski and snowboard resort; there are dozens of trails for skiers and snowboarder of all levels. The Ruidoso area claims two of New Mexico's finest casinos; Inn of the Mountain Gods and Billy the Kid Casino. Ruidoso offers some of the best outdoor recreation around including top rated golf courses, horseback riding, Golden Aspen Motorcycle Rally, Aspencash Motorcycle Rally, high altitude bicycling, camping , hiking, skiing , golf, tennis, art galleries, and plenty of museums.

Big Bend National Park

There is a place in Far West Texas where night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone. Here, at the end of the road, hundreds of bird species take refuge in a solitary mountain range surrounded by weather-beaten desert. Tenacious cactus bloom in sublime southwestern sun, and diversity of species is the best in the country. This magical place is Big Bend.  While Big Bend is famous for its natural resources and recreational opportunities, the park is also rich in cultural history. Native peoples lived in and/or passed through this area for thousands of years. Their presence is evidenced by pictographs and archeological sites. In more recent history (the last 500 years) Texas has been claimed by six different nations!

 The Big Bend has been a home to people for many centuries, but knowledge of the Rio Grande among non-Indians dates back less than 150 years. Spanish people crossed the Rio Grande in the 16th and 17th centuries searching for gold, silver, and fertile land. Comanche Indians crossed the river in the 19th century, traveling to and from Mexico with their raiding parties.

Carlsbad Caverns

Rocky slopes and canyons, cactus, grass, thorny shrubs, and the occasional tree, who could guess at the hidden treasures deep underground? Beneath this rugged land are more than 117 known caves - all formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone. Carlsbad Cavern is one of over 300 limestone caves in a fossil reef laid down by an inland sea 250 to 280 million years ago. Twelve to fourteen thousand years ago, American Indians lived in the Guadalupe Mountains; some of their cooking ring sites and pictographs have been found within the present day boundaries of the park.

Chamizal National Monument

Chamizal is more than just an urban park to recreate or enjoy a quiet afternoon. These park grounds stand for peace; the peaceful settlement of a 100-year border dispute between nations. Not one shot was fired; not one war was waged. The memorial celebrates the culture of the borderland that helped to peacefully navigate an international argument. In 1966, Congress established Chamizal National Memorial to commemorate the Chamizal Convention (treaty) of 1963. The Chamizal treaty finally ended a long-standing border dispute between the U.S. and Mexico. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo established the Rio Grande/Río Bravo as the international boundary between the U.S. and Mexico. However, rivers naturally move over time. In this case, the river gradually, and at times abruptly, moved south, which left Mexico with less land than the 1848 treaty established. The land disputes that arose because of the river movement caused tension between the U.S. and Mexico for more than 100-years. Finally, in 1963 U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Mexican President Adolfo Lopez Mateos met to discuss the "Chamizal Issue" and through diplomatic negotiations, they solved the Chamizal Issue with the signing of the Chamizal Treaty.

 
 
 
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