MEDORA, N.D. – Effective immediately, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota is closed to recreational use until further notice, the National Park Service announced Thursday. The temporary closure includes visitor centers, facilities, trails and campgrounds. East River Road in Billings County will remain accessible to local residential traffic.
The purpose of the park closure is to safeguard the public and slow the spread of COVID-19 in response to guidance from state, county and local health officials, the NPS said, adding the health and safety of visitors, employees, volunteers and partners is the No. 1 priority.
The NPS is working service-wide with federal, state and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and will lift the closure as soon as possible. During the closure, managers will prepare for the summer season by bringing on essential seasonal staff and performing necessary maintenance on park facilities.
The park is expected to be open and operational by May 9, when the seasonal staff is ready to welcome visitors, the NPS said. The phased opening approach will allow the park to be fully functional upon opening.
“The National Park Service has listened to concerns raised by our local communities and elected leaders requesting that the park temporarily close to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Theodore Roosevelt National Park Superintendent Wendy Ross. “Closing the park was a difficult decision to make during a time when people are seeking recreation and enjoyment in the outdoors. This action will protect the people who work here, live here, visit here, and cherish this place. We look forward to welcoming the public back to their park as we transition to a new normal in the coming months.”
The NPS encourages people to take advantage of the many digital tools available to explore on the park website at www.nps.gov/thro. The public can also find operational information and updates on social media platforms. The NPS will post updates about nationwide coronavirus operations at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.