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National Parks Week may be impacted by events in the world

Apr 09, 2020 10:41AM ● By Ed Helmick

By proclamation of President Donald J. Trump, on April 20, our nation celebrates National Park Week with fee free entrance and a variety of special programs.

This year National Park Week is April 18-26.

First let’s get an update on what is happening at Utah’s five national parks:

Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion during the month of April, with the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, the National Park Service has temporarily suspended the collection of park entrance fees.

This is to reduce exposure to park personnel. As you would expect, visitor centers and park bookstores are closed, and there will be no ranger guided tours. Campgrounds will not be accepting new reservations. The facilities that are open will be maintained in accordance with CDC guidance.

It is expected that these policies will remain in effect until at least the end of April.

The official government phraseology is National Park Week is OBE(Overcome By Events) for 2020. That simply means that a previous action plan is no longer relevant.

However, don’t rush off to Arches or any other National Park because there is no entrance fee. You will find lodging and meal availability discouraging. Campgrounds are closed and remote camp sites are being patrolled for appropriate spacing by the local sheriff.

We have quickly learned that our entire lives are OBE thanks to coronavirus.

However, our nation appears to be dealing with this historic public health challenge and we must deal with what is before us right now and look forward to better times. (Helmick is a Serve Daily contributor.)

Editor Note: As of March 27, Arches and Canyonlands National Park is closed to visitors.