On March 18, 2020, the National Park Service announced a decision to temporarily suspend national park entrance fees until further notice.
The decision comes after careful consideration by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “Our vast public lands that are overseen by the Department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing,” he said. Suspending national park entrance fees “makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks.”
In a time when social distancing is critical to curbing the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19, being in nature can bring hope to the current reality. The key at this time is keeping a safe distance from others, and that’s easy to do in the vast, wide-open landscape of Utah’s public lands.
Benefits of the Great Outdoors
There are many benefits to being outdoors in fresh air and sunlight, especially when it comes to physical and mental health. Escaping to the great outdoors can help both your body and your brain. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 60 minutes of physical activity every day to improve overall physical and mental fitness. In fact, getting outside and surrounding yourself in nature can also help relieve stress.
Playing it Safe
In line with CDC protective guidelines, Zion National Park has temporarily suspended shuttle operations so that park visitors can travel in the safety of their own vehicle. Once parking is full, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive will be closed to limit crowds and respect social distancing.
According to an NPS press release, the Department of the Interior “reminds visitors to do their part when visiting a park to follow CDC guidance by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.”