Even though the United States was building fewer nuclear weapons in the wake of the Cold War, the need to store these items securely was the country's biggest concern, a concern that was tragically reinforced by the rising terrorist threat and the events of September 11, 2001.
For years the military had stored much of its material at installations in the Manzano Mountains. The need for greater security led the Air Force to construct the Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Complex which opened in 1994.
After years of producing and studying nuclear weapons and other items, tons of high and low level nuclear waste that had previously been stored in other dangerous locations found a new home. With the help of Sandia National Laboratories' scientists and engineers, a Waste Isolation Pilot Plan was built 2,150 feet below ground east of Carlsbad and opened in 1999.
In 2000, a "controlled" fire in the forest near Los Alamos grew out of control and burned 42,000 acres and destroyed large portions of the Pueblo Indian land and much of Los Alamos - but not its labs.
In the meantime tourists continued to arrive in New Mexico during one of the most prosperous decades in American history. Special celebrations continued to draw tourists to other towns across the state, including the Hatch Green Chile Festival, the Roswell UFO Festival, the Great American Duck Race in Deming, and of course, the Santa Fe Fiesta.
There are so many great places to visit and things to do in New Mexico that it is a wonderful place to spend your vacations or a lifetime.