Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Randy Granger concert brings music back to White Sands National Park

On Oct. 10, White Sands National Park will welcome Randy Granger for a full moon concert at the park’s amphitheater.

The concert is in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and will begin at 7 pm

“This will be the first White Sands National Park full moon night public event that the park has held since the end of the season in late 2019 (before the park was re-designated and before the beginning of the pandemic),” White Sands National Park Interpretive Ranger Brian Power said. “Since this full moon night falls on a holiday, the park chose to honor Indigenous People’s Day by inviting Randy Granger, a local musician to help the public celebrate the holiday.”

Granger specializes in Native American flute, storytelling, percussion instruments and handpans. He is from Las Cruces and is of Mayan and Apache heritage.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day was established as an official state holiday in New Mexico in 2019. The day falls on the second Monday in October.

From October 2020:World’s longest fossilized human trackways discovered at White Sands National Park

“Where Indigenous Peoples’ Day is officially acknowledged, it is often celebrated in place of or alongside Columbus Day,’ according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. “This is in recognition of the disease, genocide, and slavery brought to the Americas through the interactions of Columbus and other European explorers with Indigenous peoples.”

The concert is free to the public, although admission to White Sands National Park is charged. No reservations are needed. The White Sands National Park entrance fee is $25 per vehicle.

This is the first concert performed at White Sands National Park since October 2019.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, White Sands National Park and Branigan Cultural Center and the Museum of Nature and Science in Las Cruces will hold a “Dig into the Past” even in honor of National Fossil Day.

The event is free and begins at 10 am at the Branigan Cultural Center.

The events include White Sands National Park rangers showing casts and molds of ice age fossilized footprints that were discovered at White Sands National Park.

At White Sands National Park’s Visitors Center, the PBS documentary series NOVA’s episode about the scientific research happening at White Sands National Park will be shown. “NOVA: Ice Age Footprints” will begin at noon on Oct. 8th.

In 2018, ice age era footprints were found on a playa at White Sands National Park.

An adult and toddlers footprints on the surface of a playa at White Sands National Park.  These tracks extend for almost a mile.

These footprints are the largest collection of ice age (Pleistocene epoch) fossilized footprints in the world. The mega track site, as it was designated in 2014, has fossilized footprints from humans, mammoths, giant ground sloths, dire wolves and American lions.

A mega track site is a paleontological dig site that has a large amount of fossil tracks.

Fossilized footprints have been found at what is now White Sands National Park for more than 60 years.

The ice age fossilized footprints were documented in a paper in the December 2020 edition of Quaternary Science Reviews.

From January through August 2022, White Sands National Park was visited by 494,657, with 46,338 of these visitors in August alone. This is down from August 2021 when 51,453 visitors went to the park.

For more information about these or other events at White Sands National Park, visit the Park’s website at www.nps.gov/whsa/ or call 575 479-6124.

Nicole Maxwell can be contacted by email at [email protected], by phone at 575-415-6605 or on Twitter at @nicmaxreporter.

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