Why The National Parks are Closing

National Parks, National Monuments, and State Parks are closing to public visitors across the country in response to the COVID-19 virus.


When states and counties first ordered everyone to stay home, many in America decided to visit our parks as opposed to obeying the shut-in orders. Instead of practicing social distancing visitors swarmed into parks, overcrowding campgrounds, gathered at visitor centers, congregated at rock climbing sites and generally failed to do their part to bend the curve and stop this rampant disease from expanding.

It is critical to understand that small, tourist municipalities support many of our national parks, and they recently found themselves suddenly overrun with visitors with no idea of how many of these visitors may be infected with the virus. These small towns have limited or no medical facilities and cannot manage and care for patients who may contract the Corona Virus. While they appreciate the support of visitors during normal times, now is not a normal time, and certainly not the time for visitors.

Moreover, employees of the Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and State Parks directly interface with the public in visitor centers and during Interpretive Presentations to large groups. They could easily become exposed to the Corona Virus from park visitors who arrive from all parts of the world.

Thus, our Park Supervisors have decided to close our National and State Parks to enforce the Shut-In orders in accordance with the Health Department Authorities in their areas. Most have closed the visitor centers, campgrounds, in-park lodges, restaurants and interpretive areas but you can visit some areas in very small groups if the local Health Department Orders permit. Many other parks are completely closed such as the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Joshua Tree and more and you cannot enter for any reason other than to pass through on public highways.


First, STAY AWAY— STAY HOME– and follow your local Health Department Regulations to remain in your house.

Second, recognize that this is a temporary situation, and by staying away, you are making a personal contribution to stopping the spread of this virus. The more we work together to obey and support these shut-in and shut down directives, the sooner we will get through this.

Third, be patient. I know many of you are crawling up the walls and itching to get ‘Get Out There’ and enjoy America’s Best Idea, our National Parks and other public lands until use your forced shut-in time for creative post-production projects and other activities that you put aside in the past.

Finally, we need your support! Please stay home and commit yourself to stopping the spread of the Corona Virus. All of us who work with and in national parks and other public lands will be forever grateful that you stayed home and stood up to this virus.

About Author

Bob Killen is a nationally recognized Fine Art Photographer, Landscape Photography instructor, and artist. He is the Director of the National Park Photography Expeditions, President of the Mojave National Preserve Artists Foundation, a National Park Service Friends Group, a national speaker on landscape photography and an Adobe Certified Instructor. His thematic work explores Western Americana landscapes with a focus on man’s obsession to abandon structures, places, and things across a shared American landscape. His work is owned by collectors in 20 countries.

You may also like...