Story at a glance
- The National Park Service has shut down some of its parks and is under pressure to shut down others during the coronavirus pandemic.
- National Park Week starts during the third week of April, but in-person events have been cancelled.
- The NPS has put together digital experiences for those who want to celebrate the parks and get a glimpse of the outdoors.
Celebrating the outdoors has taken on a new meaning for many Americans under orders to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic. But after suspending entrance fees, the National Park Service (NPS) is now under pressure to close its parks entirely due to overcrowding. Some, including the Grand Canyon, have since closed over safety concerns.
So this year, the NPS is thinking outside the parks — and inside your homes — to celebrate National Park Week. Starting on April 18 and lasting until April 26, digital experiences will feature a specific parks-related theme each day of the week.
“Although much has changed in recent weeks, an assortment of fun and engaging digital National Park Week events can help people connect to our shared heritage and natural landscapes,” said David Vela, NPS Deputy Director, in a release.
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Experiences include games, videos, webcams and kid-friendly activities through the Find Your Virtual Park page on the NPS website, featuring both virtual escapes and suggestions for ways to celebrate from home.
“Knowing that national parks can provide a source of comfort and strength, the National Park Foundation is focused on bringing the beauty and wonder of parks to people digitally during National Park Week,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth in a release.
The week will kick off with a conversation on Twitter on April 16 at 1 p.m., where users are encouraged to share their favorite national park stories with the hashtags "Find Your Park," "Find Your Virtual Park," "Encuentra Tu Parque" and "National Park Week," which will have a special park ranger emoji attached to it for a limited time.
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