President Donald Trump and the First Lady plant a maple tree at the White House in recognition of Earth Day and Arbor Day. In line with his administration’s guidelines, Trump announced national parks and public lands will be reopened. (April 22)
Many national park sites are at least partially open to visitors as the country opens up after coronavirus closures. But not all facilities and services are available.
“In accordance with this guidance and in coordination with governors across the country, the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service are working to reopen the American people’s national parks as rapidly as possible,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement.
But before you go, check each park’s website for the latest information on what is open and what’s not. In each case, it depends on where states are in their reopening plans.
Here are some other considerations, from the National Park Service:
Numerous states still require out-of-state visitors to quarantine for 14 days, which may make visiting parks in some states more challenging. The National Governors Association offers an up-to-date interactive map that shows what states have a quarantine order.
Postpone challenging hikes. Having to rescue and treat stranded hikers could divert first responders and medical professionals away from the pandemic response.
Trash collection and restroom facilities may not be available. Campgrounds are generally closed.
Stay in groups from your own household and maintain social distance from other groups. Prepare to cover your nose and mouth when other people are around.
Here’s what’s going on at the 10 most-visited national parks:
The park is the nation’s most visited, with 12.5 million visitors annually. Roads, trails, picnic areas and restrooms are currently open. Visitors centers, campgrounds and concessions remain closed. Some roads are closed to vehicles but open to hiking and biking.
The Grand Canyon is America’s second-most visited national park, with 5.97 annual visitors. The South Rim opened to limited access on May 15. On June 5, the South Rim will be open 24 hours, and the Mather Campground will be open for existing reservations. The North Rim will open for day use on June 5, with the campground closed for construction until July 1. The Colorado River will reopen to recreational use with existing permits beginning on June 14. North and South Rim lodging will reopen in phases throughout June.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Starting June 4, the park will implement a timed, reserved entry system that will last through the summer. Visitors will reserve and pay the entrance fee in advance at Recreation.gov and enter the park within a two-hour window between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. In this phase, 60% of the park’s capacity, or 4,800 vehicles and 13,500 visitors a day.
“This system will more safely manage the pace and flow of visitor use, reduce crowding, and provide an improved visitor experience in alignment with the park’s safe operational capacity,” said park superintendent Darla Sidles.
The park has been open in daylight hours since May 13. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is open to private vehicles until parking capacity is reached, and the last entry is at 6 p.m. The six-mile road has about 400 parking spots. The park’s shuttle operation is suspended. Trails are open to day hiking but not to overnight backpacking. The Zion Lodge is open with limited rooms and amenities.
The park, which gets 4.4 million visitors annually, remains closed to visitors.
The park’s Montana entrances opened Monday, as the state lifted its 14-day quarantine requirement. The Wyoming and Idaho entrances are also open. The park is day-use only, with campgrounds, visitors centers and other facilities closed. Limited overnight accommodations will start later in June. The Grand Loop Road is open, except for a segment from Canyon to Tower that’s under construction.
The park partially reopened Monday, though Maine visitors are under a 14-day quarantine order. The Park Loop Road is now open, along with most restrooms along it. Hiking trails are open, and trash collection has resumed. The Carriage Roads will open June 5 for pedestrians, but they will remain closed to bicycle and equestrian riders. The Hulls Cove Visitors Center is open with limited outdoor information services from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Campgrounds remain closed and will reopen no earlier than July 1.
The park reopened on May 18 for limited recreational use. Primary roads are open, as are hiking trails for day access. Riverbank and lakeshore fishing is permitted, as are limited biking and wildlife tours. Campgrounds, overnight lodging, visitors centers, marinas and food service remain closed. Boating on lakes and rivers is prohibited.
The park is partially open to day use recreation. All coastal areas, however, remain closed. That includes beaches, parking areas, trails and facilities. No areas of the park are open to camping. Visitors centers and ranger stations remain closed. Limited lodging and take-out dining are open.
The park is closed, but a phased reopening is set to begin this month. The first phase will reopen roads, restrooms and some trails. In the second phase, campgrounds, retail, lodging and dining will reopen on a limited basis. Personal boating will be allowed and backcountry permits will be issued. The parks will relax those limits in the third phase as conditions allow.
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