PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Crater Lake National Park, Mount Rainier National Park and several other national park sites across the Pacific Northwest have temporarily closed to the public, responding to the coronavirus outbreak that has spread across the U.S.
Crater Lake made the announcement Tuesday morning, while Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks closed on Tuesday afternoon. Park officials said rangers will remain at the parks to enforce the closure and protect the parks.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Crater Lake National Park is our number one priority,” park officials said in a news release.
Other park closures in Oregon include the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and John Day Fossil Beds. In Washington, North Cascades National Park closed campgrounds and facilities, as well as some trailheads and access roads.
National parks around the country were also closing Tuesday, from Yellowstone to the Great Smoky Mountains.
The closures come less than a week after the National Park Service said it was waiving entrance fees during the coronavirus outbreak, encouraging people to continue visiting park sites.
Also on Tuesday, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife temporarily closed all state-managed parks, wildlife areas, and water access areas for at least two weeks starting Wednesday. Essential staff will remain at parks to preserve and protect resources, officials said.