Park Service Closes Shenandoah National Park But Some DC Monuments Remain Open

The Jefferson Memorial        Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP

The National Park Service continues to close parks on a piecemeal basis. This week, Shenandoah National Park closed, but even after an appeal from D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) to close them before the weekend crowds descend, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials in Washington, D.C. remain open.  The Appalachian Trail remains open to day hikers, but overnight shelters are closed apparently due to coronavirus and some sections are closed completely for apparently unrelated reasons.

Why This Matters:  Delegate Holmes Norton is right when she argues that “Federal agencies must do their part to flatten the curve,” but the Park Service is certainly not leading by example.  Washington, D.C. is under strict stay at home order and these monuments are not large open space parks and they have drawn huge crowds on recent weekends.  It takes pressure from either local or federal officials to get Parks closed – Shenandoah National Park closed within 24 hours of when former superintendents made a strong case for it in an op/ed for The Hill.

To Go Deeper:  If you need a dose of the trail but are stuck at home, check out This American Land’s new episode about how the Appalachian Trail and its gorgeous views are preserved for future generations.  Hint: It’s The Land and Water Conservation Fund.

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