There’s good news and bad news about the National Parks that may provide a needed change of scenery during pandemic-related social distancing. The bad news is that some parks are closed. The good news is that the parks that remain open will be free to enter.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt directed the National Park Service (NPS) to stop collecting park entrance fees temporarily.
“This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,” Bernhardt says.
Other states and counties (like Maryland’s Anne Arundel County, which has some Bayfront parks) have implemented similar policies waiving fees to parks in an effort to support social distancing.
At many parks, NPS says, outdoor spaces remain open while indoor facilities are closed. Which means: use the restroom at home before heading to the park.
For example, Assateague Island National Seashore has closed its visitor centers, visitor contact/ranger station and campgrounds. But public parking areas, trails and the oversand vehicle zone (permit holders only) remain open.
Since government guidelines are changing rapidly, check with individual parks for specific details about park operations.
-Meg Walburn Viviano