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Natural Resources & Energy

Yellowstone And Grand Teton National Park Closed To Limit COVID-19 Spread

CC0 / Public Domain

Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are officially closed to all visitors indefinitely.

Local county health officers from Montana and Wyoming called for the two national parks to close as both states are starting to feel pressure on their local health resources. Cody, Jackson, Bozeman and other neighboring cities' economies all depend heavily on tourism from the parks.

But Dr. Aaron Billin, Park County public health officer, said these places could be affected after the worst of the spread is over.

"As this tapers off, we think an influx of people into surrounding counties could bring the coronavirus from multiple other places and we could see another spike in surrounding counties," said Billin.

Billin said Yellowstone National Park has more than 600 seasonal international employees, and thousands of visitors come through the region to visit the park.

"This concerns us on two levels. Number one, they could bring the coronavirus from other locations and expose people who live and work here. And that with a big influx of tourists [and] visitors, people who get sick here would then be subject to our resources here that probably will be stretched thin," said Billin.

Both parks encourage people to explore digital tools like virtual tours, webcams and videos to learn keep up to date.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.

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