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Yellowstone National Park closes some sites due to virus, park still open

Posted at 11:33 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 13:36:58-04

While many places are closed to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the wide-open spaces of Yellowstone National Park are still accessible, but the park is not totally immune to the virus.

The park is reacting to the threat of COVID-19 with an immediate closure of the popular Boiling River swimming site.

“Oversnow travel is finished for the season, plowing has started, and that’s why a lot of the interior roads are closed in preparation for the spring,” said Social Media Ranger Jake Frank.

The Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth is temporarily closed while the interior of the park is already closed for spring snow plowing. But the north gate at Gardiner remains open.

“That road will lead you here where we are standing at Mammoth Hot Springs and you can continue out towards the Lamar Valley if you’re looking for wildlife," said Frank. He said that the very nature of Yellowstone with its vast and remote landscape makes it an ideal place to separate from people and avoid the virus.

On a casual trip to the park, you could be forgiven if you thought the park was closed due to coronavirus. After all, there’s not a lot of activity most days at the park headquarters in Mammoth. But, that speaks more to the seasonal closure than any effect the coronavirus is having on Yellowstone. Still, the park is making adjustments.

"Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, don’t touch your face, cough or sneeze into your elbow, practice social distancing,” said Frank.

He added that such measures protect visitors and park employees. Even with the scarcity of visitors to the park right now, thanks to Covid-19, the rules could change at any time, so be sure to check the park website before you make the trip to Yellowstone.

An alternative to visiting the park in person is to visit digitally. You can find links to photos, video and virtual tours at the park's media page.