Quantcast

Planning A National Park Visit? Think Again

Visitors should steel themselves for a “new normal” that will not likely square with their last trip, said Acting Park Service Director David Vela. |

National parks visitors should plan for ‘new normal’

BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Utah (AP) — After closing amid the coronavirus pandemic, the National Park Service is testing public access at several parks across the nation, including two in Utah, with limited offerings and services.

Visitor centers and campgrounds remain largely shuttered at Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef, but visitors are welcome at some of the sites.

“I felt like they did it right here because if they opened all the services, I think it would have been too much. Too many people would hit it,” Donna Sullivan, of Sedona, Arizona, told The Salt Lake Tribune Wednesday at Bryce Canyon.

Sullivan was on a day visit to hike the park’s Rim Trail and Bryce Amphitheater, two of the few hiking destinations currently open at Bryce.

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

She found plenty of room to social distance, but Bryce will likely see larger crowds as word gets out that the park is open and will not collect entry fees.

Visitors should steel themselves for a “new normal” that will not likely square with their last trip, said Acting Park Service Director David Vela.

“You may have facilities that aren’t going to be available, but the (park’s) footprint will be. So it will be a different visitor experience, and it will be a different normal that we’re going to need to own and, frankly, mitigate,” Vela said Friday.

“This gets to the value and importance of making sure that visitors know what to expect when they get to the park, making sure that visitors go to the park’s website (and) social media … as to what is accessible, how to plan your trip, and, most importantly, what are the expectations when you get there.”

Recent crowding at southern Utah’s state parks could offer a hint of what’s headed Bryce’s way later this season, said Bryce Park Ranger Peter Densmore.

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

“This experiment, this limited reopening is really a cooperative effort between us and the public. It’s not possible to reap the full benefits of the mitigations we put in place if people aren’t aware of them and helping us to enforce them,” Densmore said at the shuttered visitor center.

While the park reopened its core attraction, Bryce Amphitheater, Capitol Reef took an opposite approach, keeping its historic center at Fruita and the Scenic Road closed for now.

“You will see more and more parks provide recreation access. We are doing it very thoughtfully,” said park service spokeswoman Vanessa Lacayo.

Parks are staffing up and will increase access as workers are in place to patrol trails and roads, host campgrounds and operate visitor centers and museums.

At the Utah parks, seasonal employees from out of state must quarantine for 14 days before they can report for duty, which will slow the process.

Openings have yet to be announced for Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

Major parks throughout the country that have begun limited openings include:

  • Badlands and Wind Cave national parks and Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota;
  • Everglades National Park in Florida;
  • Indiana Dunes National Park; Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada;
  • Mount Rainier National Park in Washington;
  • Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky;
  • Pinnacles National Park in California.

Advocacy groups fear the park service is moving too fast and urge extreme caution.

“We are also eager to get Americans back into our national parks. But it is too soon,” warned Phil Francis, a retired superintendent who heads The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. “Parks absolutely should not open until the safety of National Park Service employees, concession employees, volunteers and other partners, including those who work and live in gateway communities, can be ensured.”

Most park staffers will be in contact with visitors and many live on-site, in close quarters, in government-owned housing, he said.

According to a park service document, parks should estimate that up to 40% of the total staff at the park may require isolation and 4% may require hospitalization.

“This is not only impossible under the current setup,” Francis said, “it is unacceptable.”

ALSO ON HEADLINE HEALTH TODAY: Obama Bashes Trump’s Virus Response, Making Global News | “Founding Father Of Rock & Roll” Has Died | Trump Asserts Virus Will ‘Go Away’ Without Vaccine

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

TRENDING

Large Ivermectin Study Retracted

MEDPAGE TODAY – A large Egyptian study of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients has been retracted over concerns of plagiarism and serious problems with their...

Texas Mayor Pleads: ‘Be Like Trump’

Midland Reporter-Telegram – During a press conference to put a spotlight on getting more people vaccinated, Midland, Texas Mayor Patrick Payton said he is...

Birth Control Users Demand Wider Choice in Taxpayer-Funded Devices

KAISER HEALTH NEWS – For Stephanie Force, finding a birth control method that she likes and can get without paying out-of-pocket has been a...

African Monkeypox Virus Tracked In 27 States

STAT NEWS – More than 200 people in 27 states are being monitored for possible exposure to monkeypox after they had contact with an...

99.5% Of Texas Covid Dead Had One Thing In Common

TEXAS TRIBUNE – Of the 8,787 people who have died in Texas due to COVID-19 since early February, at least 43 were fully vaccinated,...

Florida man gets home from doctor, finds naked stranger in his pool

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) — A man found a surprise guest in his pool after returning from the doctor’s office, prompting him to call law...

Kamala’s Laugh: “Funny Ha-Ha” Or “Funny Peculiar”?

L.A. TIMES – Seriously, to weigh how the first woman and first woman of color to become vice president is perceived, Kamala Harris’ laugh...

Dying Patients Regret Vaccine Choice

AL.COM – Dr. Brytney Cobia said Monday that all but one of her COVID patients in Alabama did not receive the vaccine. The vaccinated...

The Cancer That Killed John McCain

Consumer Health: Understanding glioblastoma MAYO CLINIC NEWS NETWORK – Glioblastoma Awareness Day will be observed on Wednesday, July 21, which makes this a good time...

Why Aren’t The Vaccines Approved?

The F.D.A. is encouraging people to get a Covid-19 shot — but hasn’t formally approved those vaccines. New York Times – It is the most...
- Advertisement -