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Closure of National Parks Due to COVID-19


In the article “3 of the Busiest National Parks Close amid Coronavirus Outbreak”, Vigdor offers powerful arguments about the issue of social distancing and why it has led to the closure of national parks in the country. The National Park Service indicated that such a measure was essential to minimize the spread of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19). The majority of the involved authorities explained how different public health authorities were keen to prevent the ongoing pandemic and protect more lives. The author describes how some of the officials viewed such aspects of nature as capable of delivering the required health benefits. However, the pandemic was capable of claiming more lives if different stakeholders failed to implement the relevant measures. Most reasonable people think that the move to close some of the leading national parks due to COVID-19 could be the best decision to make, but they may be mistaken because there are available options of using masks and maintaining social distancing while getting the health benefits associated with parks and fresh air that can help in boosting the body’s immunity.

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has transformed human life in different and unexpected ways. The rapid spread of this infectious condition is compelling different institutions and organizations that receive many visitors to introduce stringent measures that have the potential to safeguard lives. The majority of the people believe that some of the initiatives and guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO) are practical and capable of protecting lives (“Exercise is Essential for Well-Being during COVID-19 Pandemic”). For instance, this international organization has advised people to consider the importance of wearing recommended masks, avoiding congregating in crowded places, and practicing social distancing. When more citizens take these issues into consideration, chances are high that positive results might be recorded and make it possible for the global community to overcome this pandemic.

The selected article describes how the relevant stakeholders have decided to close these three national parks: Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and Grand Teton. Such a decision arises from the social distancing requirements that many policymakers are promoting in order to manage the COVID-19 pandemic (Vigdor). The health officials in Montana and Wyoming made such deliberations to ensure that more people did not visit or congregate in such areas to see different wild animals (Vigdor). Although these parks have been busy and popular for many decades, opinions remained divided regarding the move to close them. However, the attributes and uncertainties associated with this new infectious disease appear to attract the attention of many stakeholders.

The available statistics reveal that most of these parks receive millions of visitors annually from the country and across the region. For instance, Grand Teton and the Yellowstone recorded over 7.4 million visitors in 2019, making them some of the favorite destinations for local tourists (Vigdor). Due to the nature and issues associated with this disease, many American citizens believe that such measures are relevant and capable of addressing it. Vigdor believes that it would be safer for more citizens to stay indoors instead of gathering in different public places. Such a move could expose or increase their chances of contracting the virus.

Many countries have recorded unprecedented deaths from COVID-19 within the past three months. For instance, the United States has reported over 2 million fatalities from this disease (Di Gennaro et al. 2696). Similar cases have been identified in various European countries, including the United Kingdom and Italy. The American aging population is also at risk of dying from this disease due to the presence of other terminal conditions or health issues (“Exercise is Essential for Well-Being during COVID-19 Pandemic”). Consequently, the majority of the people acknowledge that it is appropriate that different stakeholders give social distancing the needed priority (“Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities”). Many policymakers, citizens, and institutions across the country have been keen to support the closure of such parks. They believe that the move will ensure more citizens stay away from each other and minimize the chances of contracting the disease. Similarly, many organizations and areas associated with many people at once had to take the same measures.

The government could rely on established policies and guidelines to close public places if they appear to threaten national security or expose more people to unpredicted danger. With different national parks getting more visitors than others, it would be necessary to consider divergent measures to close some of them while allowing others to remain open. Some regions have higher cases of COVID-19 than others (Di Gennaro et al. 2699). The parks in such regions would benefit from relaxed measures to allow visitors to pursue their recreation and health goals.

Lines of Argument

The standard way of thinking about COVID-19 is that it has the potential to claim lives if Americans fail to put appropriate measures in place. Some of the proposed initiatives will make it possible for more organizations and national parks to take the issue of social distancing seriously. Many people acknowledge that very little is still known about this virus (“NPS Public Health Update”). It would, therefore, be appropriate for all stakeholders to consider evidence-based ideas that can protect lives and support economic restoration within the shortest time possible. Many experts have indicated that this country is facing a possible economic downturn due to the ongoing trade wars with China and the changes arising from this disease.

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When such recreational areas remain open, more Americans will get a chance to unwind and overcome the challenges of boredom. Policymakers could also allow individuals to make their choices regarding whether to visit such areas or decide to stay at home. According to Di Gennaro et al., the quarantine and lockdown measures put in place continue to be associated with domestic violence and stress (2697). Many individuals still harbor mixed reactions regarding this dilemma and how they can manage COVID-19 without exposing themselves to it.

The standard response outlined above is that some national parks in areas recording more cases of COVID-19 need to consider the selected article and close them in an effort to deal with this disease. However, when managers of national parks take appropriate measures to guide people to engage in social distancing whenever visiting such parks, wash their hands with soap, and wear masks effectively, this country will be in a position to minimize the spread of the pandemic and the recorded percentage of deaths. The visitors of such areas will remain active and get fresh air (“Mountains of the Imagination”). Those who have children will guide and encourage them to uphold the presented guidelines. Such measures will ensure the targeted parks pursue their goals while at the same time supporting the fight against COVID-19.

Personally, I believe that such organizations can promote educational programs to sensitize more people about the implementation of the WHO guidelines whenever in such parks. Many institutions have considered such measures to reopen and overcome most of the challenges of COVID-19 (Di Gennaro et al. 2698). I also believe that such measures could be implemented at the national level with the support of some of the leading agencies and departments. Members of the public would receive additional insights and instructions for engaging in social distancing and promoting personal efforts that can overcome this disease.

In several countries across the globe, different programs and activities appear to have resumed without the need to lock or quarantine people. As the international community engages in continuous research to find a vaccine to the virus, many sporting and economic events have resumed in an attempt to support the livelihoods of the greatest number of people (“Mountains of the Imagination”). For instance, governments in Europe and Asia have instituted and presented powerful measures to guide people to maintain social distancing and protect themselves against this disease. Most of the citizens in such countries have taken such measures seriously since they understand the dangers of COVID-19 (“Exercise is Essential for Well-Being during COVID-19 Pandemic”). Similarly, the opening of national parks while implementing some of these initiatives will overcome the negative impacts of lockdown. Different partners in public health, tourism, and policy implementation will go further to collaborate and present superior measures to deal with the pandemic successfully.

The government has adequate resources to support managers of some of these national parks to introduce additional strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19 after reopening. It also has the liberty to close or open public places depending on the existing conditions. However, areas with fewer cases of COVID-19 could benefit from several measures. First, the provision of clean water and soap for the visitors to wash their hands frequently will make the suggested move practical and safe (Currie et al. 91). Second, leaders in such facilities can offer additional instructions and pamphlets that can guide more people to take the relevant precautionary measures (“Mountains of the Imagination”). Third, the parks can be demarcated to identify where people should stand in order to maintain the needed social distance. With these initiatives in place, I believe that most of these areas can open and empower more American citizens to achieve their recreational aims (“Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities”). Moreover, these facilities could hire additional professionals to sensitize and encourage more visitors to maintain or follow the presented guidelines.

Consideration of Alternative Arguments

I have always believed that prevention is better than going through the treatment process. My opinion is that the decision to have different national parks closed is erroneous since it has limited the options for many people for relaxing and overcoming the issues associated with this pandemic (Di Gennaro et al. 2696). The introduction of superior measures could ensure that more Americans maintain the required social distance. They will also wear masks appropriately and consider the recommended practice to improve personal hygiene. The ultimate objective is to ensure that more American national parks remain open to more visitors during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic without endangering lives. With the latest advancement in the fields of technology and science, it would be possible for different organizations to continue presenting additional insights to support such facilities to meet the demands of more citizens.

Nonetheless, some experts and analysts have presented divergent views that try to challenge such a decision. Zhou et al. offer the examples of Italy and Spain to explain how the ongoing pandemic is capable of claiming lives within a very short time (P1055). Therefore, it would be appropriate for the government to support the closure of all national parks in the country (“Be #TetonSafe, Be Outside”). Although Americans have not supported the same idea directly, they have succeeded in giving me the impression that lockdown and quarantine measures are essential and capable of controlling the rapid spread of the virus. Additionally, Zhou et al. argue that all facilities and areas of worship need to be closed to encourage more people to obey some of the orders and provisions outlined to support the containment of the disease (P1058). When Americans are allowed to visit different public spaces during this time of COVID-19, chances of congregating and failing to observe social distancing might increase significantly.

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In discussions of social distancing and lockdowns, one controversial issue has been that the economy is disoriented since more Americans have been losing their jobs at an unprecedented rate. Most of us would agree that the situation might be worse in the future. Additionally, chances are high that more individuals might develop additional health complications associated with the lack of fresh air and exercise (Vigdor). These burning concerns and the trends recorded elsewhere need to become powerful guidelines for encouraging different authorities and policymakers to open areas of recreation, including national parks and game reserves. Despite these issues, areas with fewer COVID-19 cases or receiving a small percentage of visitors could reopen with much ease.

Some people in this country remain convinced that additional cases of infections and deaths might be recorded when such decisions are implemented. However, the potential health challenges that most of the citizens stand to face explain why I have pursued the above proposition (“Be #TetonSafe, Be Outside”). When people visit different parks, they will be in a position to relax, breath fresh air, share stories, or jog. These activities will amount to physical exercises, thereby improving the flow of blood in their bodies (“Exercise is Essential for Well-Being during COVID-19 Pandemic”). The end result is that more Americans will record positive health results and increase their chances of fighting this disease.

From the above discussion, I believe that Freeman and Eykelbosh are mistaken because he fails to consider the realities recorded in different parts of the world (4). In China, for instance, the government has succeeded in opening up and allowing people to continue engaging in a wide range of economic activities. This example explains how local departments and agencies can implement similar measures while reducing the spread of coronavirus (Park et al. 309). Consequently, I disagree with Freeman and Eykelbosh’s view that more cases of infections would be recorded when some of these national parks are reopened. With proper guidelines and training, more Americans will be willing to protect themselves by wearing protective clothing or equipment, considering the benefits of masks, and taking the idea of social distancing seriously (“Mountains of the Imagination”). They will sensitize others about the importance of such measures and how they can transform the current situation. Di Gennaro et al. believe that such individuals will benefit from fresh air and boost their immunities (2699). Consequently, their bodies will be able to fight this disease-causing virus and ensure that the pandemic ends within the shortest time possible.

Though I concede that COVID-19 remains a dangerous health condition, I still insist that there are far more benefits that Americans could get if they are allowed to visit different parks. More individuals will find a reason to engage in various physical activities and record positive health outcomes. Despite the fact that many people’s feelings and opinions remain mixed, I still support the decision to open these facilities and ensure that the economy does not stagnate. Since many people are capable of following the presented instructions, chances are high that this country will be in a position to overcome this disease (“Be #TetonSafe, Be Outside”). I believe that all citizens can join hands to engage in actions and initiatives that will encourage other organizations, utilities, and institutions to reopen. The government can collaborate with the involved departments to study and examine some of the best practices from different countries and apply them when reopening the identified national parks (Park et al. 310). Members of the public should also receive timely guidelines to support the process and eventually ensure that desirable outcomes are recorded.


The above discussion has described how the decision to close several American national parks remains divisive during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the suggestion to open some of the facilities receiving a small number of visitors may seem trivial, it is, in fact, crucial in terms of today’s concerns over the economy and wellbeing of the greatest number of citizens. Ultimately, what is at stake here is the health conditions or physical abilities of different individuals. My conclusion of the selected topic is that it is appropriate to open parks and encourage visitors to promote the practice of social distancing, embrace the use of masks, and avoid congregating in crowded places. However, this needs to be done depending on the number of visitors and the percentage of COVID-19 cases. These ideas will have significant applications in other sectors of the economy and take more people closer to their goals. When more people receive the relevant instruction to maintain social distance, they will breathe clean oxygen and improve their immunities. With such measures in place, this country will be closer to defeating this invincible disease that continues to claim lives across the globe.

Works Cited

“Be #TetonSafe, Be Outside.” Grand Teton, 2020. Web.

Currie, Christine M., et al. “How Simulation Modelling Can Help Reduce the Impact of COVID-19.” Journal of Simulation, vol. 14, no. 2, 2020, pp. 83-97.

Di Gennaro, Francesco, et al. “Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) Current Status and Future Perspectives: A Narrative Review.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, no. 8, 2020, pp. 2690-2700.

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“Exercise is Essential for Well-Being during COVID-19 Pandemic.” Nuvance Health, 2020. Web.

Freeman, Shirra, and Angela Eykelbosh. COVID-19 and Outdoor Safety: Considerations for Use of Outdoor Recreational Spaces. National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health, 2020.

Mountains of the Imagination.” Grand Teton, 2020. Web.

NPS Public Health Update.” National Park Service, 2020. Web.

Park, Mirae, et al. “COVID-19: Lessons from SARS and MERS.” European Journal of Immunology, vol. 50, no. 3, 2020, pp. 308-311.

Vigdor, Neil. “3 of the Busiest National Parks Close amid Coronavirus Outbreak.” The New York Times, 2020, Web.

“Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities.” CDC, 2020. Web.

Zhou, Fei, et al. “Clinical Course and Risk Factors for Mortality of Adult Inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: A Retrospective Cohort Study.” The Lancet, vol. 395, no. 10229, 2020, pp. P1054-P1062.

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