Coalition Echoes NTEU Concerns Over Rush to Reopen Parks

The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks is warning against the administration’s rush to reopen national parks and public lands.

The coalition of current and retired NPS employees echoed NTEU’s concerns that parks should not be reopened until the safety of NPS employees and park visitors can be ensured.

In March, NTEU pressed to close parks and public lands where the union represents employees to avoid spreading COVID-19. With the coronavirus threat still high and public-facing NPS employees anxious, NTEU is working closely with lawmakers to ensure parks aren’t reopened too quickly and there are clear health and safety protocols in place. Rushing to reopen without adequate safeguards and guidance could jeopardize the well-being of employees, visitors and those who live near parks.

This issue also got the attention of lawmakers. On April 27, key House leaders wrote to Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt asking for the agency's documentation and plans for reopening parks and public lands.

“In the face of this unprecedented crisis, it is crucial that any decisions to reopen national parks and other public land sites prioritize the health and safety of visitors, employees, and local communities and that they are guided by directives from public health experts and local officials,” the House members wrote.

Learn about NTEU’s work with Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton to close the Washington Monument and the National Mall, and our conditions for a Safe Return to federal workplaces.