Published on : Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks has decided to reopen the giant sequoia groves and the backcountry starting Thursday. The parks would be the latest additions to the group of national parks in California that decided to gradually open their doors to visitors. All parks are maintaining new safety rules and hygiene measures as they consider reopening in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
According a statement provided by the park authorities, entrances, roads, parking lots, restrooms, picnic areas and trails, including paths leading to the popular General Sherman Tree, will open for the first time since it closed back during March 25. Visitors have been asked to maintain physical distancing by maintaining a distance of 6 feet from one another at parking lots and on trails. Usage of face coverings and masks has been made mandatory on areas where social distancing is not possible.
Hikers will be allowed to access in the backcountry only with reserved wilderness permits. No walk-up permits will be issued for the summer season. Visitor centers, bookstores, ranger stations as well as lodgings, restaurants, markets and gift shops will continue to remain shut. Campgrounds for overnight stays would not reopen before July 4.
Park officials encourage have already asked visitors to avoid crowds at parking lots and on trails, and advised them to consult the park newspaper available at the entrance for updated information about closed and open facilities. In addition, the park has decided to clean facilities more frequently. It will also post signs at trail heads and restrooms. The park would refrain from collecting the $35 entrance fee per vehicle as of now for the next seven days. Visitors have to use online payment options before visiting the park once the payment option resumes.