National parks closing for COVID-19

To combat the spread of coronavirus and encourage
social distancing
, many national parks are closing to the
public or modifying their operations, including Yellowstone and
Grand Teton. Although, thanks to their sizes, parks might seem
somewhat safer than other public gathering places, they attract
large numbers of visitors, which poses a health risk.


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News Release: Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National
Park are announcing modifications to operations at the request of
local county health officers from Park County, WY, Park County, MT,
Teton County, WY, and Gallatin County, MT. The health and safety of
our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is our number one
priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide
with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the
COVID-19 pandemic. Effective immediately, Yellowstone and Grand
Teton national parks are closed to all park visitors until further
notice. There will be no visitor access permitted to either park.
State highways and/or roads that transcend park/state boundaries
and facilities that support life safety and commerce will remain
open. Both parks will cooperate on the implementation of the
closures. We will notify the public when we resume full operations
and provide updates on our website and social media channels.
“The National Park Service listened to the concerns from our
local partners and, based on current health guidance, temporarily
closed the parks,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly and
Grand Teton Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail. “We are
committed to continued close coordination with our state and local
partners as we progress through this closure period and are
prepared when the timing is right to reopen as quickly and safely
as possible.” The parks encourage people to take advantage of
various digital tools available to learn about Yellowstone and
Grand Teton National Parks. Updates about NPS operations will be
posted on (nps.gov/coronavirus). Please check with (nps.gov/yell)
and (nps.gov/grte) for specific details about park operations. Full
release at: go.nps.gov/20013 #Covid_19 #CoronaVirus

A post shared by
Yellowstone National Park
(@yellowstonenps) on Mar 24, 2020 at
10:56am PDT

In lieu of visiting the parks, the NPS is offering some virtual
alternatives
like photo galleries, apps, videos, and virtual
tours. These are obviously poor substitutes for the real thing, but
they’ll just have to suffice to tide us over until the parks
reopen.

The decision to close the parks comes shortly after President
Trump waived all national park entrance fees — a move designed to
make social distancing less painful by encouraging safe outdoor
recreation. The gesture, however, triggered fear of crowds and
risks for NPS visitors and employees. The UK made a similar
reversal with the National Trust opting to close parklands, coast,
countryside, and gardens shortly after offering free entry.

A list of the closed parks and their modified operations is
available on the National
Parks Services Public Health Update page
.

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National parks are closing to slow the coronavirus outbreak

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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
National parks closing for COVID-19