Utah's 5 national parks closed as Capitol Reef shuts gates | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Utah's 5 national parks closed as Capitol Reef shuts gates

April 09, 2020 - 1:31 PM

SALT LAKE CITY - All five of Utah’s national parks are closed after Capitol Reef officials said Thursday they are shutting their gates to prevent further spread of the new coronavirus.

The park known for its sandstone cliffs was the last national park still open in Utah after Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches and Canyonlands had previously closed under pressure from local government and health officials.

Capitol Reef’s decision comes after Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Tuesday urged people to stay close to home even though it is Easter week and spring break for many state residents. Park officials referenced Herbert’s motto of “stay home, stay safe” in a posting on the Capitol Reef website explaining the decision.

“The goals of the directive are to flatten the curve, reduce potential impacts to local communities, reduce the strain on hospitals and the healthcare system, and minimize the impact on medical resources for those with highest need,” park officials said.

Many of America’s most popular parks have closed, including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains and Glacier, even after Interior Secretary David Bernhardt in mid-March waived entrance fees to make it easier for people to enjoy outdoor spaces. Bernhardt authorized park superintendents to make their own decisions about what’s needed to adhere to recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also on Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management’s Utah office reminded residents to heed Herbert’s order to only visit state parks still open that are in their own counties.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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