National Park Service wooden plaque
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

National Park Service Suspends All Entrance Fees Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

Entrance fees to all of the national parks in the United States have been suspended until further notice as a result of the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV — pandemic.

National Park Service Suspends All Entrance Fees Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photograph ©2008 by Brian Cohen.

“This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,” David Bernhardt — who is the current secretary of the interior of the United States — said, according to this official news release. “Our vast public lands that are overseen by the Department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing.”

Both the National Park Service — which employs greater than 20,000 employees to maintain 419 national parks — and the Department of the Interior urge visitors to do their part when visiting a park to follow the  guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  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
  • Staying home if you feel sick

Finding an Open National Park

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The bad news is that not all of the national parks are currently open due to the aforementioned pandemic, as outdoor spaces remain open to the public at a majority of national park locations where adhering to public health guidance is currently possible; while many facilities are — or will be — closed until further notice.

You can either check with individual national parks for specific details about park operations — or you can plan your visit by checking active alerts in each national park to see which ones are open; which ones are temporarily closed; and which ones are still open but have increased restrictions applied to them.

Public health updates can be accessed here pertaining to the response by the National Park Service with regards to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.


Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

As I am trying to give some good news pertaining to this 2019 Novel Coronavirus “March madness”, other states and municipalities have implemented similar policies waiving fees to parks.

I have been taking a lot of walks over many miles in recent weeks — including in one national park — and they have helped clear my mind and take breaks which were much needed.

Do yourself a favor, as spring was ushered in earlier today, Thursday, March 19, 2020: find yourself a open national park to enjoy its natural beauty in the warmer weather — and get your mind off of this whole 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, as it is wearing on just about everybody.

Please read the following articles pertaining to my experiences in national parks — including:

All photographs ©2008, ©2014, ©2016, and ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

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