Dinosaur National Monument ceases all river operations
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Getting outdoors has been one thing people can do while social distancing. However, the outdoor activity options are slowly dwindling, as Dinosaur National Monument announced Friday, March 20, that they will be ceasing river trips starting noon, Monday, March 23. They will be suspended until further notice, according to the monument’s website.
“It is a big impact, we realize that,” said Dan Johnson, public information officer at Dinosaur National Monument. “This was made in conjunction with all the other parks that have river systems with boating.”
Big Bend National Park in Texas, Canyonlands National Park and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah, as well as Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, are all adhering to the same policy. The National Park Service is complying with the latest requests from the White House, Centers for Disease Control, as well as local and state governments.
The change means anyone holding a permit for any time after noon Monday, March 23, may not enter the river. Refunds have been issued for affected permit holders, according to recreation.gov. For further information regarding permits, people can call the Dinosaur National Monument River Office at 970-374-2468.
Johnson said there is minimal staff in the park, but they are active at put-in and takeout locations along the Green and Yampa rivers. He said if people are caught in the river, they are violating the law and there will be ramifications.
The designated high use period doesn’t begin until May 11, during which two to three permits are issued a day. Between now and then, there is one permit holder for each day. The permitted section of the Yampa is one of the most highly sought after and the permit is one of the hardest to acquire in North America, simply based on supply and demand. Last year, more than 10,000 people applied for the 300 available private permits.
Additionally, the Quarry Visitor Center and Exhibit Hall on the Utah side of Dinosaur National Monument is closed. The release on the website said the staff is trying to implement virtual access to programming during the closure.
Visitors are still permitted in the park, the National Park Service asks visitors follow CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus while taking in the views.
Rocky Mountain National Park is no longer open to visitors, as of 7 p.m. Friday, March 20, according to the park’s website.
“We expect as this continues to spread, people should be prepared for more changes in operations not just in national parks, but in our lives,” said Johnson.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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