National Park Service 'modifying operations': Alaskan destinations among closures, delayed openings

NPS photo of Glacier Bay by Jake McFee.
By  | 

Beth Verge The National Park Service is delaying the openings of certain national parks, preserves and monuments, and changing operations at parks nationwide due to concerns over the new coronavirus.

Among the locations facing big adjustments are Alaskan destinations, the agency said in a release Friday.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve will push back its opening, delaying the start of visitor until July 1; the Bering Land Bridge Visitor Center is temporarily closed as a public health precaution; Denali's visitor centers are currently closed; and the Denali National Park and Preserve has suspended issuance of climbing permits for any expedition for the 2020 climbing season.

[RELATED: 2020 season climbing permits for Denali and Mount Foraker suspended]

As for the delayed opening of Glacier Bay National Park in its entirety, officials said the change was the best and safest option.

“It is increasingly clear that park visitation will be extremely low at this time," said Superintendent Philip Hooge, citing employee and community health concerns, as well as significant disruption in travel due to the novel coronavirus. “This rapidly evolving situation and the remote nature of the park with its limited community medical capabilities requires the park to be extraordinarily careful."

The release also noted that because of the shortened season, cancellations, and lack of new bookings, it is unlikely the Glacier Bay Lodge will open at all this season.

You can learn more about modified operations at NPS locations by heading to the agency's website. NPS advised checking with individual parks for details about specific hours, operations and other information.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.