Park Rangers Fearful as Visitor Numbers Skyrocket Nationwide

A group of hikers travel in a cluster at Zion national park March 21 despite social distancing guidelines

A group of hikers travel in a cluster at Zion national park March 21 despite social distancing guidelines

Emma Souza

Park rangers worry as citizens across the country crowd national parks for fresh air during COVID-19.

The Guardian reports The National Park Service (NPS) allows the access of outdoor parks and spaces during COVID as long as health guidelines and orders are followed. “It is irresponsible for us to be open because we are aiding in the spread of the virus,” a NPS manager said in disagreement.

    Grand Canyon National Park held thousands of people the weekend of March 21. According to The Washington Post a park ranger had 600 close contacts with visitors within a day. The park’s supervisor requested to close it. As of April 14, the NPS has closed Grand Canyon National Park, yet other national parks remain open.

USA Today reports the National Park Service has closed a minimum of 15 park sites, adjusting park procedures at others. The modifications include shutting down trails, visitor centers, or bathrooms.

According to The Washington Post as of April 1st seven NPS employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The Park Service said it was unlikely the employees could have given visitors the virus.

A forest ranger at New York’s Adirondack Park also tested positive for COVID, reports The Post Star. The ranger was given protective equipment and was never directly involved with those who contracted coronavirus.