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Shenandoah National Park to start accepting campground reservations

Check the Shenandoah National Park website or Facebook page for the newest updates on COVID-19...
Check the Shenandoah National Park website or Facebook page for the newest updates on COVID-19 related closures.(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 5:59 PM EDT
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Shenandoah National Park will start officially accepting campground reservations for the 2020 season this week.

According to a spokesperson for the national park, starting on June 24, any visitors who plan to camp at Mathews Arm, Big Meadows, Loft Mountain or Dundo campgrounds can go to Recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777 to make reservations.

Reservations are being accepted from two days to six months in advance of trip dates, with a limited number of campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis.

According to SNP, Lewis Mountain Campground will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for the entire 2020 season.

The park is in Phase 2 of their reopening plan, which launched on June 11, increasing recreational access and services open to the public.

he National Park Service (NPS) says they are working service-wide with federal, state and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and use a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Shenandoah National Park, which was shut down due to COVID-19 since April 8, started the process of gradually reopening over Memorial Day weekend last month.

At the start of April, after making frequent changes every few days to accommodate CDC guidelines at the park, the national park determined they would have to close to protect the health and safety of their visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners, especially since trails and other areas had been so crowded with people that social distancing was not possible.

For a month and a half, the only portions of the park that remained open were state highways Rt. 211 and Rt. 33.

But as Governor Ralph Northam’s ‘Forward Virginia’ plan for reopening progressed to Phase 1 and then Phase 2, national parks and national forests steadily restarted their services.

Their decisions have been based on guidance from the CDC, White House, and state and local health authorities, in partnership with the National Park Service.

You can pay for entrance fees to the park in advance by buying a digital pass here.

“At Shenandoah National Park, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored,” the park said in a statement earlier this month. “We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.”

Shenandoah National Park says the health and safety of their visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is the most important factor for them, so their operational approach is to examine each facility, function, and service to ensure all operations comply with public health guidance.

They’ll be continuing to work with the NPS Office of Public Health, using the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, to make sure all public areas and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors and employees.

While some areas are opening up to visitors, services may be limited as a return to full operations is slowly phased in. You can find the local health orders at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/prevention-tips/ before heading out.

With limited staffing, you're also asked to avoid high risk activities, avoid crowding, and practice 'Leave No Trace' principles.

The Shenandoah National Park also offers virtual tours online here.

They’ll continue to post updates on park operations on their website.

For updates about park concessioner Delaware North’s operations, click here.