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Each April, the National Park Service (NPS) teams up with the National Park Foundation to celebrate America’s natural treasures. The week encourages Americans to get out and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer than through exploration, education and discovery. This year, of course, is different than any other year in recent memory due to the novel coronavirus.
Like many other organizations all over the country, the NPS has modified its operations by following the CDC as well as other state and local public health experts. At this time, the majority of national parks have closed their facilities and canceled their events to prevent the spread of COVID-19; however, operations are decided on a park-by-park basis.
Luckily, despite the current social distancing limitations, we all still have an opportunity to commemorate National Park Week. In 2020, NPS has placed its focus on digital experiences.
That’s right, it is still possible to visit the parks during National Park Week (April 18 to April 26); that is with the help of technology and a little imagination. Review this list of available virtual tours:
- Clara Barton National Historic Site
You can visit the home of founder and first president of the American Red Cross. Clara Barton’s house in Echo, Maryland, served as the first national headquarters of the organization, and was her home for the last 15 years of her life.
- Crater National Park
You can take a virtual trip to the deepest lake in the US. Crater National Park. Located in Southern Oregon, Crater Lake was formed by a volcanic eruption and collapse and currently holds the honor of the ninth-deepest lake in the world with the deepest measured depth coming to 1949 feet.
- New Bedford Whaling National Park
New Bedford, Massachusetts, was known as the capital of the 19th century whaling industry and a prominent safe haven along the Underground Railroad. You have the opportunity to take an interactive or video tour of the Nathan and Polly Johnson House, a home that welcomed and helped those traveling along the Underground Railroad.
If you don’t have time for an entire tour but are interested in a change of scenery, you might be interested to know that NPS also has live webcams placed all over the country. You can catch glimpses of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, Yellowstone National Park, Katmai National Park & Preserve and more.
We understand that life feels challenging right now, we must keep reminding ourselves that the social distancing is just a temporary setback. Before long, this period will just be a distant memory that we can look back on and be proud that we got through it together. But until that day comes, be sure to keep looking for joy – it might be right outside or in a virtual tour.
Happy Early National Park Week from Lions Pride!