Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are officially closed to visitors until further notice due to concerns for public health. The closures come at a time when officials across the country have been throttling down public access to National Parks and promoting social distancing to visitors in hopes to curb the spread of COVID-19 but a blanket closure for all parks has not been issued.
CNN reports local and state officials in the areas surrounding Yellowstone and Grand Teton national had requested that they close to the public despite the obvious economic repercussions. State highways and roads that cross park or state boundaries and “facilities that support life safety and commerce will remain open.”
Yellowstone and Grand Teton join the list of major parks closed due the pandemic including Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (America’s most popular park with 12.5 visitors per year). There are 419 national park sites in the US, covering 85 million acres across all 50 states that attract 327 million people annually and I think its safe to assume many more will join the list of closures in the coming days.
YELLOWSTONE PRESS RELEASE:
Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks 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.
images from YellowstoneNPS Twitter