Social Distancing: National Park Service Waive Fees to Encourage Outdoor Activity

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Social Distancing: National Park Service Waive Fees to Encourage Outdoor Activity

On March 18th the National Park Service announced that it will waive entrance fees to parks that remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt wants to encourage social distancing among Americans by encouraging outdoor activity.

This is a much different approach than many State Parks have taken. Florida, in addition to others, have closed their state parks for 30 days.

Beautiful Moraine lake in Banff national park, Alberta, Canada

Why Are Most National Parks Staying Open and Waiving Fees?

In a news release Bernhardt says:

“Our vast public lands that are overseen by the Department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing.”

Additionally he added, “This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,”

Many RVers have echoed this exact sentiment.

In the midst of state parks closing – full time RVers, in particular have worried about being evicted and having reservations cancelled.

State Parks, unlike National Parks, May Need To Use Facilities to Combat Virus

Louisiana, Georgia and California have selected certain public RV parks and campgrounds to act as coronavirus isolation centers.

A beachfront RV park in Playa Del Rey operated by the county is isolating the infected in onsite RV. Up to 50 RVs are being delivered to the site.

Georgia is hosting patients in an isolated portion of Hard Labor Creek State Park – however, the campground is still hosting campers.

Bayou Segnette in New Orleans is also housing infected.

Panorama of badlands national park with vista of mountain range with large clouds in background

The Majority of RVers Think State & National Park Campgrounds are Essential Businesses

In a recent poll shared with hundreds of RV enthusiast, 84% think that campgrounds and RV parks should be considered essential businesses.

By closing parks and campgrounds, full time RV travelers and RVers away from home may be left without proper water & electric resources.

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5 comments

  1. The problem with waiving fees to encourage tourist to enter our National Parks is that it increases business to the small towns near those National Parks. Smaller communities don’t have the medical resources to support the people, should there be an increase in Covid19 cases. Tourist are spreading the disease rapidly like here in Colorado. Please use caution promoting travel right now.

    1. I definitely don’t promote long distance travel to National Parks. However, if one is near by, itd be great for a hike

  2. There are a number of state parks that have closed their campgrounds however are leaving the other day use facilities open. The facilities that are offered during day use still will need to be cleaned by the park staff which poses a threat to those staff. However the use of the campground for full-time rvers or any other self-contained recreation vehicles gives a place that’s safe, and provide revenue for the state campground. State campgrounds are concerned about the facilities being used by rvers then a good suggestion would be for them to lock the bathhouses, the restrooms, and or any communal facilities. They could require that the recreation vehicles be completely contained but still allow the use of any dump stations that may be part of the State Park campground. For some of these states that have closed down there campgrounds doesn’t seem like they’ve really thought it through completely when they’re willing to leave the park open for day-use.

  3. As any of us full timers know trying to find a campsite in national parks without reservations 6 months in advance can be nearly impossible.

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