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Zion National Park is latest to close amid pandemic

Updated April 3, 2020 - 2:12 pm

Zion National Park in Utah is closed until further notice because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Friday.

The shutdown was ordered by the National Park Service after it received a letter recommending the closure from the executive director of the Utah Department of Health, according to a park news release. Zion National Park is about 160 miles northeast of Las Vegas and already had closed a popular trail and campgrounds to promote social distancing.

“Zion has been carefully assessing our ability to provide a safe environment amid this crisis and in making progressive changes to operations as needed,” Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said in the release. “However, visitors are continuing to come to the park from all across the country at numbers difficult to maintain social distancing.”

The two roads that run through the park — Utah Route 9 and the Kolob Terrace Road — will remain open for safety measures and for residents. Stopping at pullouts will be prohibited during the closure.

“We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels,” the park said.

Other large national parks also have closed amid the pandemic. Grand Canyon National Park closed indefinitely Wednesday after the federal government initially rebuffed the park’s request to shut down.

Federal, county, local and tribal officials had joined Grand Canyon residents in calling on the National Park Service and Interior Department to close it.

The two largest Las Vegas Valley recreation areas also are closed. On March 17, the Hoover Dam was closed to all visitors, and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area has closed trails and campgrounds.

The Scenic Drive at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area also is closed until further notice. The closure includes the visitors center, the overlook, late night trailhead, Red Spring picnic area and boardwalk, and all campsites at the Red Rock Campground.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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