UPDATE: MANY NATIONAL PARKS ARE NOW CLOSED.
Please check your local park before heading out.
While many National Parks are closing campgrounds, visitor centers and other areas where social distancing is not an easy thing to do, there is some good news from the Department of Interior. During the Covid-19 outbreak, the National Park Service will be temporarily suspending park entrance fees starting on March 18, 2020. How long they will be free to enter remains an unknown.
In a quick press release, insured by the National Park Service and shared online by producer and reporter Jeffery Cook of ABC News, and also reported by the website National Park’s Traveler, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt directed that all National Parks waive their entrance fees. The announcement reads as follows:
This is great to hear, as many are searching for a mental, spiritual and physical distraction from the seemingly never-ending cycle of bad news. However, many parks, especially those that are mainly buildings, are closed or will be soon. This directive does mean that many of your favorite trails are free to explore, but don’t expect any open infrastructure in these places of solace.
When visiting National Parks, The Outdoor Society is asking you to be aware of a few things. First, please do not travel extremely far to visit parks. The gateway communities surrounding America’s public lands are not able to deal with an influx of visitors, nor are ready to handle a huge outbreak. The general rule of thumb we have is that if you have to visit anything other than a gas station to make the journey, do not take it. Stay local and explore the public lands in your own backyard. Remember, this is for everyone’s safety.
Secondly, follow all posted rules on the trails. Dogs need to stay at home, as do drones and anything else not allowed. Treat the parks with the same respect as you would if they were fully open and crowded. This is not the time to break the rules because you can, which we have seen often during government shutdowns. We can’t afford to have these places ruined.
Go out and enjoy your local parks. The trails and views are exactly what we all need right now.