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National parks will begin reopening next week during COVID-19 pandemic

Yellowstone and Grand Teton will open in phases starting Monday.


Yellowstone and Grand Teton will reopen in phases.

James Martin/CNET
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In what could be a precedent for reopening national parks across the US amid the coronavirus pandemic, two of the largest will open on a limited basis starting Monday at 12 p.m. local time. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park will be open to the public, although some trails and roads will remain closed, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said Wednesday.

The National Park Service said Yellowstone has a three-phased plan to first open the south and east entrances in Wyoming, only allowing visitors into the lower end of the park, which includes Lake Village, Canyon Village, Norris, Old Faithful, West Thumb and Grant Village. The restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails and boardwalks will all be open in those locations.

Phase 2 will see campgrounds, backcountry permits, visitor cabins, additional stores, expanded tours, takeout food service, boating, fishing and visitor centers open, though the timing on this is yet to be determined. Phase 3 includes reopening hotels, full-service dining, commercial tour buses and ranger programs.

The Montana entrances of north, west and northeast remain closed.

The opening plan for Grand Teton wasn't immediately available, but Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said it will also reopen in phases.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, has rapidly spread across the globe. There are now over 4 million confirmed cases globally, with more than 1 million in the US, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins. 

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