Yellowstone and Grand Canyon Re-Open – But Can Public Parks Safely Meet Increasing Users?

Yellowstone and Grand Canyon Re-Open – But Can Public Parks Safely Meet Increasing Users?

More of the most famous and most visited National Parks are beginning to re-open as summer tourist season looms, but they will open sections of the parks in phases, with concessions and other public spaces also re-opening within the open areas, but there is no requirement for visitors to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Why This Matters: What the pandemic and social distancing requirements are revealing is that many communities do not have enough park and open space — both large cities and suburbs.

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Visitors Surging To National Parks, Forcing More To Close Due to Coronavirus Concerns

Visitors Surging To National Parks, Forcing More To Close Due to Coronavirus Concerns

Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Smoky Mountains National Parks closed on Tuesday due to coronavirus concerns, joining Yosemite National Park, the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island because of concerns of crowding in public spaces leading to spread of the disease. 

Why This Matters:  As is true with so much of the Trump Administration’s attitude toward containing the spread of the virus, they have left each Park to decide on its own, causing confusion and sending mixed signals to the public and leaving local officials struggling to respond.

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Staying Safely Connected To Nature During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Staying Safely Connected To Nature During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Florida is (finally) closing its beaches. The National Park Service has waived all park entrance fees but closed some parks and most of the facilities in the parks that remain open (check each park’s web site for more details) — they are taking “extraordinary steps to implement the latest guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and local and state authorities to promote social distancing.” 

Why This Matters:  It is spring break for many people across the country and the warming weather may make outdoor activities tempting, but unless we maintain our distances we won’t flatten the curve of exposure.

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New Report Urges Congress to Permanently Fund “America’s Best Conservation Program”

New Report Urges Congress to Permanently Fund “America’s Best Conservation Program”

A new report published yesterday by the Surfrider Foundation documents the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to America’s conservation legacy by showing how the special places supported by the Fund over its 55-year history have become the “heart and soul” of numerous communities — “protecting unique ecosystems and cultural resources, providing solace and recreation, and contributing extensively to our nation’s economy.” 
Why This Matters:  Without permanent funding, the LWCF is likely to continue to be a “political hostage” — used as a bargaining chip in whatever battle is brewing in Congress.
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Interview of the Week: Dr. Enric Sala, Explorer In Residence, National Geographic Society

Interview of the Week: Dr. Enric Sala, Explorer In Residence, National Geographic Society

Dr. Sala leads the Society’s efforts to save the last wild places on the planet for future generations to enjoy. ODP: You have said that it is now more important than ever for people to live in balance with nature. Why? ES: The loss of ecosystems that we have seen in certain regions is happening […]

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Republican Members of Congress Form Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Caucus

Republican Members of Congress Form Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Caucus

On Wednesday, a handful of Republican Senators and Congressmen formed their own conservation caucus saying that they wanted to demonstrate that their party cares about the environment and even climate change.  They call themselves the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus and their priorities are reportedly public land access, water quality, and ocean pollution.

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