~ Press release issued by Shenandoah National Park on Saturday, April 4
LURAY – Shenandoah National Park, in response to guidance from Virginia Department of Health, is announcing additional modifications to operations which support federal, state, local and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) efforts to promote social distancing and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Decisions on modifications to park operations are being re-evaluated regularly by park management.
As of April 4, 2020, Shenandoah National Park will offer very limited services outside those that support visitor or resource protection. At Shenandoah National Park, the following services and operations will be suspended in order to comply with the state health guidance:
- Shenandoah National Park will be closed to all access from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily.
- Skyline Drive is closed to motorized vehicles from mile 0 at Front Royal to mile 65.5 at Route 33 east of Elkton and west of Stanardsville (Swift Run Entrance).
- All picnic grounds are closed.
Outdoor spaces at Shenandoah National Park remain accessible to the public in accordance with the latest federal, state, and local public health guidance.
- Skyline Drive will be open to motorized vehicles from mile 65.5 (Swift Run Entrance) to mile 105 (Rockfish Gap Entrance), daily from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The approximately 40 mile stretch of Skyline Drive from Swift Run to Rockfish Gap is the only portion of the Drive open to motorized vehicles. Motorists need to exit by 8:00 p.m.
- Skyline Drive will be open to pedestrians, bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles from mile 0 at Front Royal to mile 65.5 (Swift Run Entrance), daily from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Visitors need to exit by 8:00 p.m.
- Most trails in the park will be open, daily from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Please review boundary trailhead, state route, and trail closures on our website before coming to the Park: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/alerts.htm and practice social distancing as recommended by the CDC.
Previous Closures Remain in Effect:
- All boundary trailheads in Rappahannock and Page Counties are closed. Visitors are urged to hike from Skyline Drive. Check our website or social media channels (listed below) for details.
- Old Rag and the Whiteoak-Cedar Run loops and associated trails are closed.
- Routes 670 and 648 in Madison County leading to boundary trailheads for Rose River and Dark Hollow are closed.
- All facilities, including bathrooms, are closed.
- There is no camping. Campgrounds are closed, and the backcountry is closed to overnight use.
- Albemarle County, the city of Charlottesville, and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority have closed the recreational area around Sugar Hollow Reservoir which also prevents access to the Moormans River Trails from that location.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Shenandoah National Park is our number one priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/alerts.htm and social media channels https://www.facebook.com/shenandoahnps/, https://twitter.com/ShenandoahNPS, and https://www.instagram.com/shenandoahnps/.
If contemplating a visit to a national park during this pandemic, the NPS asks visitors to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees. As services are limited, the NPS urges visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safer and healthier.
Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Please check with individual parks for specific details about park operations.
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. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.