American Indians had been exploring Carlsbad Caverns for more than 1,000 years before a 16-year-old cowboy named Jim White found it in 1898. Trouble was, nobody believed him. Then in 1915 photographs taken by Ray V. Davis, who had accompanied White into the cave, were displayed in Carlsbad, N.M. Word got out quickly.
In 1923 Carlsbad Caverns National Monument was established; it became a national park in 1930. Today the national park includes nearly 47,000 acres of land and 113 known caves -- part of a series of 300 caves in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. The park was designated a World Heritage Site in 1995.