You felt this one coming too, or at least I did. With the recent Delta variant of COVID surges, more mask mandates have been popping up around in various places and there seem to be more coming in the days and weeks ahead.

Another one to add to that list is this, according to Outthere Colorado, in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

The National Park Service will be requiring employees, the public, and contractors to wear a mask while inside of all National Park Service buildings, as well as in crowded outdoor areas managed by the department. This new mandate applies regardless of vaccination status and local transmission levels of COVID-19.

Even though it is outdoors and these particular places don't currently have a high transmission rate, there are people from all over the country and world that come to check out our National Parks. That's where the concern comes in for park officials and why the CDC is providing this measure and guidance.

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This is a huge bummer seeing that things seemed to be going so well and opening back up throughout the summer. However, the one thing that I think we can all expect after the past 18 months or so is the unexpected.

The requirement will remain in effect until further notice and will include wearing a mask indoors where social distancing can not be maintained. In addition to packed and narrow hiking trails, and other spots where others may be in close proximity.

An epidemiologist that serves in the National Park System Office of Public Help stated, "Masking in addition to being vaccinated will help prevent the spread of new variants [of COVID-19] and protect those who are more at risk of severe disease. This simple act of kindness allows us to be safe while we continue to enjoy the benefits of our national parks". 

Places in Colorado that this mask mandate will effect:

    • Rocky Mountain National Park
    • Great Sand Dunes National Park
    • Mesa Verde National Park
    • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
    • Bent's Old Fort
    • Curecanti National Recreation Area
    • California Historic Trail
    • Colorado National Monument
    • Dinosaur National Monument
    • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
    • Hovenweep National Monument
    • Old Spanish National Historic Trail
    • The Pony Express Historic Trail
    • Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
    • Santa Fe National Historic Trail
    • Yucca House National Monument.
    • As well as other destinations managed by the National Parks Service.

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