Release Date: May 21, 2020
Contact: Sally Hurlbert, firstname.lastname@example.org, 540-999-3500 ext. 3300
Shenandoah National Park is beginning to increase recreational access to Skyline Drive and park trails
Luray, Virginia – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Shenandoah National Park is increasing recreational access. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Beginning Saturday, May 23 at 8:00 a.m., Shenandoah National Park will reopen access to the following areas for day-use only. Following May 23, open hours will be from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.:
- The entire length of Skyline Drive from mile 0 at Front Royal to mile 105 at Waynesboro will be open to all traffic.
- The backcountry will be open to day-use only. Over 480 miles of trails will be accessible from trailheads along Skyline Drive.
- Vehicle parking along Skyline Drive at overlooks and trailhead parking areas will be in designated areas only. If parking area is full, please do not park outside of the designated area, move on to a less crowded area.
- Entrance stations will be staffed and entrance fees collected.
- Limited restrooms will be open at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6), Panorama (mile 31.5), Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51) and Beagle Gap (mile 99.5).
With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
- Skyline Drive will be closed nightly from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
- Backcountry camping will not be authorized.
- Visitor centers, picnic areas, campgrounds, lodges, cabins, Massanutten Lodge, and Rapidan Camp historic structures will remain closed.
- Old Rag and Whiteoak Canyon/Cedar Run circuit trails will remain closed.
- Boundary trailheads will remain inaccessible.
- Retail shops, food and beverage areas are closed at this time, but they may become accessible during this Phase 1 period of reopening provided they meet the mandatory requirements in the Forward Virginia Guidelines.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Shenandoah National Park, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/prevention-tips/, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
We have amazing virtual tours of Shenandoah National Park, all of the time, so for people who are still home schooling or not traveling at this time check out our website for interactives, photo galleries, videos, and webcams: https://www.nps.gov/shen/learn/photosmultimedia/index.htm
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website www.nps.gov/shen and social media channels: https://www.facebook.com/shenandoahnps/, https://twitter.com/ShenandoahNPS, and https://www.instagram.com/shenandoahnps/. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Please visit www.goshenandoah.com for updates about park concessioner, Delaware North’s operations.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.