When it’s no longer possible for staff to protect their health, the health of the visitors or the resources they manage, it’s time to close the national parks. And that time is now.
Washington, DC – Due to weeks of delays and lack of action by the Department of the Interior to protect the health and safety of park staff, visitors and surrounding communities, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is calling for all national parks to close to the public until a time when they are safe to return to.
Weather is warming and surges in visitation are expected in still-open parks across the country. However, with no seasonal staff coming in to help with the influx of visitors, park staff will be stretched even thinner. Secretary Bernhardt must take action now to close all national parks before thousands more lives are needlessly put at risk.
Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for the National Parks Conservation Association:
“To deal with this public health crisis, so many are seeking refuge in our national parks. But the conditions in our parks make this no longer an option. Already-taxed park rangers are coming into contact with hundreds of visitors, personal protective equipment is being rationed and only available for emergencies and park staff are calling out sick because they no longer feel safe going to work. When it’s no longer possible for staff to protect their health, the health of the visitors or the resources they manage, it’s time to close the national parks. And that time is now.
"It’s troubling that Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has shown no sense of urgency in responding to the desperate pleas of park staff to close their parks. While we wait for him to do the right thing and close our national parks, we call on Americans to support park rangers by staying home. The parks will be there for them once we get through this crisis, just as they’ve always been, and we all look forward to the day when we can enjoy them together once again.”
About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.4 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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