Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site and Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site in North Dakota will close their visitor centers until further notice, the National Park Service said Wednesday.
The changes follow guidelines set by federal, state and local authorities to promote social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Where it is possible to adhere to the latest health guidance, the NPS said, roads, trails, campgrounds and picnic areas will remain open to provide healthy options for the public to enjoy.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers and partners at North Dakota’s National Park Service (NPS) sites is our number one priority,” the NPS said in a news release. “The NPS is working with federal, state and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.”
The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department on Wednesday night said it is closing all state park and recreation buildings effective Thursday, March 19, until further notice. That includes but is not limited to camping, overnight facilities and visitor centers. Department staff will contact anyone with a reservation affected by the closure and provide the option to move or cancel their reservation.
The department is also postponing or canceling all interpretive and special events. Day-use facilities, including trails and boat ramps, will remain open to the public for the time being. More information can be found at parkrec.nd.gov.
In Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources on Monday closed state park visitor centers, offices and other nonessential buildings but kept parks and trails open. Trails in the Grand Forks Greenway also are open, Greenway staff said Wednesday.
For visitors to National Park Service sites in North Dakota and elsewhere, the NPS recommends following federal guidance for preventing the spread of infectious diseases by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.
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