Carlsbad is a small but friendly community in southeastern New Mexico, with a population of about 30,000 people. The town was founded in the late 1800s by ranchers from west Texas, along a reach of the Pecos River where flow is supplied in part by karst springs in the bed of the river. The major industries in Carlsbad include tourism, potash mining (southeastern New Mexico contains the United States’ largest known concentration of potash reserves), oil and gas production, agriculture, and activities associated with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a disposal facility for defense-related transuranic radioactive waste.
During the week of this confernce, daytime high temperatures average around 52 °F (11 °C) with overnight average lows 27 °F (-3 °C). Rain is unlikely.
Among people interested in caves and karst, “Carlsbad” is synonymous with “Carlsbad Caverns National Park,” located only 30 minutes by car to the southwest along Highway 62/180. Another 30 minutes farther and into Texas is Guadalupe Mountains National Park. These parks offer world-class views of middle Permian geology and hypogenic karst. Highway 62/180 traverses a striking and unique gypsum karst terrain that includes Parks Ranch Cave, the second-longest gypsum cave in the United States.
In downtown Carlsbad you’ll find the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center, which has an interesting exhibit on the region’s history and often hosts excellent special or traveling exhibits. At the city’s north end is the Living Desert State Park and Zoo, a beautifully developed display of flora and fauna of the desert southwest region of the U.S. About an hour’s drive farther north, and especially if you drive or fly in via Roswell, a visit to the International UFO Museum and Research Center is always entertaining.