National parks request patience, require reservations at some sites this summer

If you’re hoping to visit a specific national park this summer, don’t expect to just show up. Some of the most popular parks are requiring reservations as they continue to be a destination of choice for many Americans after more than a year of social distancing and isolation.

“We’re expecting this to be a busy summer season and busy 2021 as more Americans are out and about and ready to travel, ” said Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, chief spokesperson for the National Park Service. “A lot of the most famous destination national parks, the lodging, the campgrounds in and around those parks are already fully booked or nearly fully booked through Labor Day, so we want to make sure people are planning ahead before jumping in the car for a weekend road trip.”

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‘Plan like a park ranger’ for national park trip

A new NPS campaign called “Plan Like a Park Ranger” aims to help visitors avoid unwelcome surprises and make the most of their trips with insider tips from park rangers themselves.

They include broad tips like “be patient with each other and with us.”

“Just like across the country, the hospitality industry and other businesses are still recovering; you may find some reduced or limited services in and around national parks,” Anzelmo-Sarles said. “It’s best to check park websites before visiting because, as we all know, COVID can be dynamic and so operations may evolve or change, depending on current COVID impacts in some communities.”

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