Campsites, popular attractions at national parks raise COVID-19 concerns

State-by-state variations in COVID-19 regulations have resulted in different policies in different national parks, and some public health officials are concerned about the potential of summer crowds gathering at high-profile attractions in parks, such as The Amphitheater in Bryce National Park, according to a June 12, 2020 Smithsonian article.

Caroline Buckee, associate director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics and associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Smithsonian that hiking in the parks is a healthy, low-risk activity. She is, however, concerned about crowds gathering at popular attractions, as well as in campsites with shared bathrooms.

“National parks draw people from all over the place and what that means is they can be hotspots for the importation of the virus,” Buckee said. “Users hopefully are aware that this is a shared resource and we need to protect everybody to benefit from it.”

Read the Smithsonian article: The ‘New Normal’ of Visiting America’s National Parks