Reference this list before you adventure to a National Park this year. While it is recreation-as-usual in many locations, others are experiencing renovation, partial closures, reservation requirements and other anomalies. Best to be like a boy scout and “be prepared” by checking and rechecking park websites and following social media channels for late-breaking updates.
After a 2021 filled with pandemic uncertainty and anxiety about all things indoors, many travelers are sure to be thinking hard about national park destinations in the West this year. But there’s plenty of change and uncertainty outdoors too.
If you’re leaning toward a park trip, here’s a roundup of what to expect at 17 parks in California, Arizona and Utah, including bigger crowds in the deserts, reduced services because of pandemic measures and worker shortages, miles of scorched earth in Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Lassen Volcanic national parks, a new reservation system in Arches National Park and the unresolved question of whether Yosemite will require advance reservations for summer daytime visits.
No matter which park you visit, travel these days means checking and rechecking park websites and following the parks’ official Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep up with the late-breaking changes. It’s also wise to keep up with CDC travel advice, which includes getting vaccinated before you go anywhere and wearing a mask on planes, trains, buses and all other public transport.
Also, remember the National Park Service currently requires that everyone in its parks wear a mask, “regardless of vaccination status, in all NPS building, crowded outdoor spaces, and on all forms of enclosed public transportation.”
Santa Cruz Island’s Scorpion Anchorage is open for day visits, as is the nearby campground and hiking route to Smugglers Cove. But just east of that route, 1,411 acres blackened by the Scorpion fire of 2020 remain closed fore restoration until further notice.
Anacapa Island, usually a popular day-trip destination for the boats of park concessionaire Island Packers, will be closed from mid-February through July for dock construction.
Santa Barbara Island’s dock is closed after damages from two years of winter storms “and is not expected to be repaired in the near future.”
Badwater Basin, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Zabriskie Point and most other key locations are accessible as usual. Scotty’s Castle, severely damaged by flooding in 2015 will reopen no sooner than April 2023. Thorndike and Mahogany Flat campgrounds are closed.
Read the full article from the Los Angeles Times here.