CLOSED: Yellowstone, Grand Teton leave parks to the wildlife amid disease concerns

JACKSON, Wyo. — As pressure mounted from local governments and health officials to close nearby national parks in order to discourage ‘viral-tourism’ visitation from areas of the U.S. harder hit by COVID than Wyoming, word came down today that Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks are closed for business.

Effective immediately, Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are closed to all park visitors until further notice. No visitor access will be permitted to either park. State highways and/or roads that transcend park/state boundaries and facilities that support life safety and commerce will remain open. That includes, for instance North US89 from Jackson through Moose and Moran.

Just yesterday, Yellowstone superintendent Cam Sholly said he was considering the drastic measure and would have an answer soon. That answer came at noon today.

“Yellowstone has received a substantial number requests to temporarily close, from state and local partners, including the governors of Montana and Wyoming, health officials from all surrounding counties, and local government leadership,” Sholly disclosed in a prepared statement Monday. “I have been in direct contact with the governors, many local leaders, and health officials within our gateway communities and counties. Contrary to a few press articles written today, the park is taking these requests from our local partners very seriously and will communicate decisions in the near future.”

Grizzly spotted in Grand Teton NP recently. Awake from a long hibernation and looking for food. Photo: Matthew Murphy

Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton will cooperate on the implementation of the closures. The public when full operations are resumed, and updates will be provided on social media.

“The National Park Service listened to the concerns from our local partners and, based on current health guidance, temporarily closed the parks,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly and Grand Teton Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail. “We are committed to continued close coordination with our state and local partners as we progress through this closure period and are prepared when the timing is right to reopen as quickly and safely as possible.”

Yellowstone is typically quiet this time of year as far as visitation. Roads are closed for over-the-snow travel yet most are not yet plowed open for spring. Grand Teton NP sees quite a bit of use from locals looking to cross-country ski or get outside before the crowds of summer descend on the park.

The parks encourage people to take advantage of various digital tools available to learn about Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

Yellowstonewebcamsvirtual toursphoto galleriesappsvideosFlickrFacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter.
Grand Tetonwebcamsvirtual toursphoto galleriesappsvideos, distance learning programs on YouTube,FlickrFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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