News Release

National capital area parks are modifying operations to implement local health guidance

Date: March 28, 2020
Contact: Jonathan Shafer, 202-619-7186

WASHINGTON – In response to public health guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state health departments in Virginia and Maryland and in the District of Columbia, and local health departments in the counties of Alexandria, Va., Allegheny, Md., Arlington, Va., Fairfax, Va., Frederick, Md., Jefferson, W.Va., Loudon, Va., Montgomery, Md., Prince George, Md., Prince William, Va., and Washington, Md., the National Park Service (NPS) has implemented additional facility closures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).   

In most cases, national parks in the Greater Washington area will only perform functions that are essential to visitor and resource protection. Parks have postponed or canceled ranger programs and permitted events, and visitors should not expect all facilities to be open.  

Closed facilities, some of which are managed by NPS lessees or concessioners, include some: 

  • Visitor centers 
  • Campgrounds  
  • Playgrounds  
  • Picnic areas  
  • Parking lots 
  • Roads 
  • Restrooms 
  • Drinking water fountains 
  • Restaurants or other concession-operated facilities 

Operational changes vary by park. Please check park websites and social media for the most current information about the status of services, facilities and areas. Outdoor spaces generally remain accessible in accordance with federal, state and local health guidance. 

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers and partners is our number one priority. If you choose to visit during this pandemic, the NPS asks you to adhere to guidance from the CDC. You can do this by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other people, washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and staying home if you feel sick.  

You should also practice Leave No Trace principles – including packing-in and packing-out your trash – to keep outdoor spaces safer and healthier.   

The NPS invites you to enjoy digital experiences to explore the parks: 

More information about NPS operations is posted on We will also provide updates on our park websites and social media channels and notify the public when we resume full operations.

Affected parks include: 


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, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

Last updated: April 1, 2020