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One of the last places that is still available for people to visit right now is the great outdoors. Having recently visited a national park in Arizona, I can state from first-hand experience how great it felt to escape to a wide open and beautiful place amid all of the worry happening today.
Unfortunately, some of our national parks and state parks are closing down either entirely or partially for the moment.
The reason is that it is sometimes difficult or even impossible to avoid coming into close contact with other people at some of these venues.
For example, if you have ever stepped into a visitor center on a busy weekend you know how cramped those places can get.
Many parks are only closing down enclosed buildings and visitor centers along with campgrounds.
Below are some of the parks that have decided to close:
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Closed March 24 through April 6.
- Fort Pulaski National Monument in Savannah, Georgia: closed until further notice.
- Rocky Mountain National Park: closed to visitors until further notice.
- Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park: closed until further notice.
- The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island: temporarily closed.
- Yosemite National Park campgrounds: closed through March 31.
- Pearl Harbor National Memorial: temporarily closed.
- Joshua Tree National Park: closed its visitor center, campgrounds, as well as its roads to all vehicle traffic.
- Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument: closed until further notice.
- Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego: closed through April 10.
- Independence National Historical Park: closed until further notice.
- Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve: closed its buildings and visitor center until further notice.
State parks have been less lenient and we have seen entire shutdowns of parks in places like Florida, New Mexico and Oregon.
I totally agree with monuments with enclosed buildings shutting down for now. But I thought that more campgrounds would remain open. I guess there could be risks since there are a lot of shared facilities like bathrooms and even showers at some of these campgrounds.
There’s also the risk of staff members coming into contact with each other which could be very problematic a bigger parks. If there is no need to issue permits and take payments, then the risk of contact between staff members could be removed.
Also, some parks may not feel okay with keeping a park open while their visitor centers and other facilities are closed. If a park has an open scenic drive, they will probably remain open. But if the park has special sites, especially protected sites, then I could see them shutting everything down since they won’t have the manpower to look after those.
Either way, a lot of parks are only closing up until sometime in April so I don’t think this will be a long-term issue but you never now.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.