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Coronavirus and the National Parks

Coronavirus and the National Parks

Posted in: Lodge Announcements on March 17, 2020.

Cause for Caution

Dear Reader, as you are undoubtedly aware, the world is a little bit upside down right now. We’re all dealing with the new coronavirus and its effects on public life. In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, public gatherings are highly discouraged, travel is limited, and events are canceled or postponed. This is a major disappointment to those who had planed to get outside this month and enjoy springtime in Southern Utah and the national parks. But there is some good news here.

A representational image of a virus

The novel coronavirus is disrupting travel. Photo by CDC via unsplash.com

What’s Happening in the National Parks?

The national parks are remaining open! But don’t expect to get into any of the visitor centers, or participate any of the usual ranger-led programs. In addition, the shuttle in Zion National Park is temporarily suspended, and the Gifford House in Capitol Reef is closed again. And, depending on the park in question, there might be a limit on how many people are allowed in certain areas. You can check the official NPS website here for more detailed information for each park. You can also read the park service message about the coronavirus here.

Arches National Park with very few visitors

The parks are remarkably empty. Photo by Nate F via unsplash.com

What Should You Do?

As you weigh these factors, and try to decide on what is the best course of action for you, we thought we’d share some tips, in case you do decide to visit any of the national parks this coming month:

  • Pack your own food. There’s no guarantee that any of the restaurants that service the parks will be open.
  • Call your hotel or campsite. Some accommodations will be shutting down, and you’ll want to check that your reservation is still valid.
  • Talk to the rangers. The good folks who run the parks are still there, and you can call them and get up-to-date information on the situation in that national park.
  • Stay up to date on what’s happening. Rumors abound, but it’s not inconceivable that state-issued travel bans may go into effect.
  • And, of course, keep clean, keep your distance, and stay safe.

All the Best

We at the Lodge at Red River Ranch wish you all the best in this difficult time. And don’t worry, if you do decide to postpone your trip, Utah’s national parks will still be here after we get through this. Good luck!

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