COVID-19 Updates for National Scenic and Historic Trails

Trail friends, advocates and partners:

As you know, the COVID-19 situation is evolving quickly. Public health experts urgently advise those at lower risk of illness to take proactive precautionary measures (like social distancing, self-quarantining when sick, washing hands) not just to protect themselves, but to protect the most vulnerable and slow the spread of the disease. Learn more about the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO)

Like many other organizations that are postponing or canceling spring events, the Partnership for the National Trails System has also made the decision to cancel the Spring National Trails Workshop (scheduled for May 18-22, 2020 in New Mexico).

The Partnership for the National Trails System, to the best of its ability, will be posting more updates to this page regarding national scenic and historic trail organization responses, guidelines, policies, event cancellations, related news articles, and resources. Please make sure to check social media or individual websites for up-to-date information, and contact the trail organizations and corresponding federal agencies directly if you have questions. 

If you would like something shared to this page, please email Samantha Haas, PNTS Communications Coordinator, at communication@pnts.org.

Some updates are also available on federal agency websites:

Note: Dates listed below refer to the date they were posted online. Content in the links may have been updated since then.

4/2/2020

    • RESPONSE: Florida Trail Association
      • Updated message in response to Floriday’s stay at home order, FTA “urges you to please stay off the Florida Trail during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many sections and facilities along the trail are closed and more are continuing to close each day.”
      • Virtual puzzles of the Florida Trail.
    • RESOURCE: Shared by the National Park Foundation
      • Webinar on “Fundraising for Parks During Uncertain Times” at 3-4:30PM EDT April 6th.

4/1/2020

    • RESPONSE: Appalachian Trail Conservancy
      • Letter sent on behalf of ATC and 29 of the 31 A.T. maintaining clubs to ask the federal government to close the entire Appalachian Trail until April 30 because of COVID-19.
    • RESPONSE: North Country Trail Association
      • Webpage with Trail Alerts and NCTA responses to frequently asked questions (4/1/2020). 
      • Program change: For the month of April, all miles (off the NCT, too) will count toward the Hike 100 Challenge. Share on social media using #hikefromhome and @northcountrytrail.
    • RESOURCE: Shared by Nonprofit HR
      • Virtual Town Hall on “Workforce Planning during the COVID-19 Crisis: Freezes, Furloughs, Layoffs & Position Eliminations” at 12-1:15PM EDT April 6th.
    • RESOURCES: Shared by the Outdoor Industry Association
      • Survey seeking input on how your outdoor industry business has been impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis.
      • Online community: Join the LinkedIn Outdoor Industry COVID-19 Forum, a private group for outdoor industry professionals to connect and collaborate directly with each other and OIA leadership.

3/31/2020

    • RESOURCE: Shared by Appalachian Trail Conservancy
    • RESOURCE: Outdoor Industry Association
      • Webinars on “Understanding What’s in the Economic Stimulus Package” at 1PM EDT April 2nd, and “Thriving in Chaotic Times – The Neuroscience Behind Our Distress” at 1PM EDT April 10th.
      • Webpage with COVID-19 Resources for the Outdoor Industry
    • RESOURCE: National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance
      • Webinar on “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Wilderness Stewardship Community: A Town Hall Conversation” at 4PM EDT April 2nd.

3/30/2020

    • RESPONSE: Arizona National Scenic Trail
      • Message from U.S. Forest Service: The Arizona National Scenic Trail is open. However, some recreation facilities and trailheads along the trail are shut down to promote physical distancing (3/26/2020). 
      • Webpage from Arizona Trail Association detailing the Arizona “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order and reporting trail and park closures such as Grand Canyon National Park.
      • Volunteering while social distancing by joining the Remote Maintenance Task Force.
    • RESPONSE: Benton MacKaye Trail Association
      • Message from BMTA President Barry Allen (3/30/2020).

3/28/2020

    • RESPONSE: Appalachian National Scenic Trail
      • Closure by NPS of all overnight shelters (56 total) and privies (75 total). Overnight users are encouraged to use a tent.
      • Updates on Appalachian Trail closures due to COVID-19 (via The Trek).

3/27/2020

    • RESPONSE: Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail
      • Parts of the NPNHT are open to recreation. Please be prepared and recreate responsibly. Law enforcement and/or search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. Some Parks and Visitor Centers along the NPNHT are closed at this time. For additional information please follow @npnht on Twitter or visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/covid19-updates.
      • Closure of Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center building in Great Falls, Montana to ensure physical distancing, however trails are open (3/27/2020).
      • Virtual operation of Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest offices (3/26/2020).
      • Closure of the Spalding Visitor Center at Nez Perce National Historic Park (3/25/2020).
      • Closure of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (3/24/2020).
      • Closure of Big Hole National Battlefield Visitor Center (3/18/2020).
      • Learning activity for homebound kids: Take a virtual trip on the Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail via Google Earth. Parents can download teaching and learning tools such as coloring books from the Learning Center.
    • RESPONSE: National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance
    • RESOURCE: Camber Outdoors

3/26/2020

    • RESPONSE: Ice Age National Scenic Trail
      • Updated response from IATA Executive Director Mike Wollmer (3/26/2020) and from the National Park Service (3/24/2020) in adherence to Safer-At-Home order issued by Wisconsin Governor Evers directing all IAT volunteers to cease all volunteer activities that cannot be performed within the guidelines of Emergency Order #12, as well as postpone or cancel events through May 1, 2020.
    • EVENT: Continental Divide Trail Coalition
      • Virtual Trail Days: The sixth annual Continental Divide Trail Days was scheduled to take place in Silver City, NM from April 24-26, 2020, but was canceled as COVID-19’s spread increased. In its place, CDTC will host a Virtual Trail Days celebration throughout the month of April, which will be free to the public and streamed via Facebook Live.

3/25/2020

    • RESPONSE: Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
      • Closure of the Selma and Lowndes Interpretive Centers.
      • Postponement of the 19th Amendment Anniversary Women’s April program and other programs, which will be rescheduled once the center is reopened.
    • RESPONSE: Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
      • Reminder to explore the trail from home using interactive maps here.
      • Closure of Lewis and Clark NHT Visitor Center in Omaha, Nebraska as of 3/23/2020.
    • RESOURCE: Nonprofit HR
      • Webinar about “Keeping Your People Together During COVID-19” at 12-1:15 PM ET. View recording.

3/24/2020

    • RESPONSE: Oregon-California Trails Association
      • Closure of OCTA Headquarters (524 South Osage Street, Independence, Missouri) for the next 30 days per city order.
      • Postponement of all OCTA chapter events until further notice.
    • RESPONSE: American Hiking Society
      • FAQ for hiking responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • EVENT: Santa Fe Trail Association
      • Cancellation of all SFTA events and meetings until further notice, and SFTA encourages local chapters to follow the same approach to protect the safety and health of members and guests.
    • EVENT: American Hiking Society
      • Registration is open for National Trails Day planned for 6/6/2020. AHS will be closely monitoring guidelines from the CDC and will notify the public should any plans change.
    • RESOURCE: The Avarna Group

3/23/2020

3/21/2020

3/20/2020

    • EVENT: Partnership for the National Trails System
      • Cancellation of the Spring National Trails Workshop (scheduled for May 18-22, 2020 in New Mexico).
      • Survey: PNTS requests that trail friends, advocates, and partners please fill out this survey by 4/13/2020 regarding feedback for future workshop plans.
    • EVENT: Appalachian Trail Conservancy
      • Cancellation of the Appalachian Trail Days (scheduled for May 15-17, 2020 in Damascus, Virginia) based on guidance provided by the Virginia State Department of Health.
    • RESPONSE: North Country Trail Association
      • Response to COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (3/20/2020)
    • RESPONSE: Florida Trail Association
      • Statement from FTA Trail Program Director Kelly Wiener regarding COVID-19 updates for hikers (3/20/2020).
      • Webpage regarding Trail Closures and Notices.
    • RESPONSE: Pacific Crest Trail Association
      • Response from PCTA per U.S. Forest Service direction regarding 2020 Permits.
      • Message from PCTA via Facebook: “It’s time to go home. We’re asking everyone to stay off the trail for now. These are truly heartbreaking times. To all of you who are affected, whether you’re a hiker, in a trailside business, a volunteer, or something else: we wish you and yours strength, health, and wellness in this storm. The sun will rise on the Pacific Crest Trail again. Let’s use this challenge to build up our little community, support each other and rest our feet. See you soon, PCTA.” (3/20/2020)
    • RESPONSE: National Forest Foundation
      • Statement from NFF President and CEO Mary Mitsos to postpone events (3/20/2020).
    • RESPONSE: Outdoor Retailer
      • Update and resources regarding the Summer Show scheduled for June 23-25 in Denver, CO (3/20/2020).
    • RESOURCE: Shared by Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators
      • Webpage for Teaching Environmental Education at Home
    • RESOURCE: Shared by National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance
      • Deadlines for Wilderness Stewardship Performance Funding and National Wilderness System Trail Stewardship Partnership Funding  have been extended to April 30, 2020.
      • Guidelines for the Wilderness Community (3/20/2020).
    • NEWS: Amid coronavirus response, Congress must support parks and open-space fund
    • NEWS: Itching to Head Outside? Read this First.
      • Article by The Trust for Public Land.
    • NEWS: Coronavirus Has Devastated the Thru-Hiking Season

3/19/2020

    • RESPONSE: Pacific Crest Trail Association
      • Statement from PCTA to please postpone or cancel Pacific Crest Trail plans due to COVID-19 (3/19/2020).
    • RESPONSE: American Hiking Society
      • Cancellation of all Volunteer Vacations scheduled to start before 5/10/2020
    • RESPONSE: Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
      • Temporary closure of the Trail as of March 20, 2020, following guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health authorities in consultation with NPS Public Health Service Officers. 
    • RESOURCE: Nonprofit HR
      • Webpage: Coronavirus Digital Information Portal
      • Webinar: HIPAA; ADA; COVID-19 & Your Mission-Driven Workforce (scheduled for 12-1:15 PM ET Monday, March 23, 2020). Free, but registration is required.  
      • FAQ: Managing COVID-19 – Talent Management Questions and Answers
    • EVENT: Outdoor Industry Association
    • NEWS: What It’s Like for 2020 Thru-Hikers Canceling Their Plans Because of COVID-19
    • NEWS: For Now, You Can Still Take Your Kids Outside.
      • Article written by Outside Online.

3/18/2020

    • RESPONSE: American Trails
      • Statement from American Trails Executive Director Mike Passo: The Respite of Trails and Outdoor Recreation
    • RESPONSE: Appalachian Trail Conservancy
      • Closure of ATC Visitor Centers until further notice. (3/18/2020)
      • Recalling of ATC ridgerunners and caretakers for the next two weeks. “This decision was made following the ATC’s guidance to not congregate with large groups and to avoid Trail shelters, which prevents ridgerunners from fulfilling their assigned responsibilities in the field. Ridgerunners are now assisting with ATC’s communications around COVID-19 while working remotely.” (3/18/2020)
    • RESPONSE: Arizona Trail Association
      • Statement from ATA Executive Director Matthew Nelson to AZT thru-hikers and riders. (3/18/2020)
    • RESPONSE: National Park Service
      • News Release: NPS to Temporarily Suspend Park Entrance Fees.
      • Letter from Ice Age Trail Superintendent Eric Gabriel to Volunteers (3/18/2020).
    • RESPONSE: U.S. Forest Service
      • Guidance from USFS to Regional Foresters and Station Directors Re: The Operation of Recreation Service Sites and Food Services (3/19/2020)
    • RESPONSE: National Recreation and Park Association
      • Joint Statement on Using Parks and Open Space While Maintaining Social Distancing (3/18/2020)
    • RESOURCE: (Shared by American Trails)
      • Website: What Coronavirus Means for Outdoor Recreation
    • RESOURCES: (Shared by the National Park Foundation)
      • Article: Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus (written by Harvard Business Review)
      • Article: Tips for Remote Relational Fundraising (written by BWF)
      • Website: COVID-19 Coronavirus – How to Help (produced by Center for Disaster Philanthropy)
    • RESOURCE: SHIFT Health and Nature Webinar Series
      • Webinar on “Nature and the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
    • NEWS: National Park Service Waived Entrance Fees. 
    • NEWS: Why I’m Getting Off the AT Amid COVID-19 Concerns
    • NEWS: How to Adventure Responsibly in the time of COVID-19
      • Article by The Outbound Collective.

3/17/2020

    • RESPONSE: National Park Service
      • Guidance implemented from CDC, White House, and local and state authorities to promote social distancing. 
        • According to a Facebook post by the NPS, “The NPS is modifying our operations for facilities and programs, including closure, at areas that cannot adhere to this guidance. Where it is safe, outdoor spaces will remain open to the public. Please check with individual parks for specific details about park operations.” (3/17/2020)
      • Active listing of closures and park alerts.
      • Updates about NPS response to the coronavirus.
    • RESPONSE: Appalachian Trail Conservancy
      • Updated Guidance for A.T. Multi-Day and Thru-Hikers.
        • Letter sent by ATC President and CEO Sandi Marra to long-distance Appalachian Trail hikers advising them to postpone their hikes due to the risks of COVID-19 transmission: “Please postpone your section or thru-hike. Instead, consider alternate ways of connecting to the Trail and to the outdoors.”
    • RESPONSE: Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance
    • RESPONSE: Continental Divide Trail Coalition
      • New Statement from CDTC Executive Director Teresa Martinez regarding cancellation of Southern Terminus Shuttle Operations until 4/17. (3/17/2020)
    • RESPONSE: New England Trail
      • Update from New England National Scenic Trail (administered by the National Park Service), including overnight site closures.
      • Statement from Connecticut Forest and Park Association (3/13/2020).
      • Statement from Appalachian Mountain Club (3/16/2020). 
      • Cancellation, rescheduling, or virtual holdings of CFPA indoor events and workshops between 3/13 and 3/30.
      • Closure of CFPA Community Meeting Room and Library until 3/30 and possibly longer.
      • Cancellation of AMC activities from 3/17 through 4/30.
    • RESPONSE: Pacific Northwest Trail Association
      • Webpage for COVID-19 updates and the PNT.
      • Statement from PNTA regarding COVID-19.
      • Closure of PNTS headquarters in Sedro-Woolley to the public until further notice.
      • Cancellation of all in-person PNTA events scheduled through May 1, 2020.
    • RESPONSE: Leave No Trace
    • NEWS: National Park Service Mandates Widespread Closure of Facilities, from Yosemite to Everglades
      • Article written by San Francisco Chronicle
    • NEWS: National Parks Are Still Open Despite COVID-19
      • Article written by Outside Online
    • NEWS: Moab Hospital Medical Director Asks Tourists To Stay Away From National Parks
      • Article written by KUER public radio

3/16/2020

    • RESPONSE: Pacific Crest Trail
      • Guidelines for PCT Long-distance Permit Holders from Pacific Crest Trail Association CEO and Executive Director Liz Bergeron and U.S. Forest Service Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail Administrator Beth Boyst (3/16/20)
    •  RESPONSE: Ice Age Trail Alliance
      • Statement from IATA Executive Director Mike Wollmer (3/16/20).
      • Cancellation of April 23-26 IATA Annual Conference and Membership Meeting in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
      • Closure of headquarters to walk-in traffic at Cross Plains, Wisconsin (likely through at least 5/1)
    •  RESPONSE: Florida Trail Association 
      • Statement from FTA (e-news 3/16/20). 
      • Closure of office in Gainesville, Florida until further notice (3/16/20). 
    •  RESOURCE: Virtual Town Hall – Coronavirus & Your Social Impact Workforce.
      • Webinar (FREE) hosted by Nonprofit HR and Independent Sector.
    • NEWS: Hikers are starting their annual trip north on the Appalachian Trail. Coronavirus could make it complicated.
      • Article written by The Washington Post.
    • NEWS: Is It Right to Start Your Thru-Hike During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
    • NEWS: PCTA Asks Permit Holders to Give Serious Consideration to Thru-Hike; Sends Updated Permit Info.

3/14/2020

    • RESPONSE: North Country Trail Association
      • Statement by NCTA Executive Director Andrea Ketchmark (3/14/20).
    • RESOURCE: Trail-Related Closures Due to COVID-19
      • List compiled by The Trek. 
    • NEWS: Iditarod is still on, but precautions are being taken as coronavirus concerns spread along the trail.
      • Article written by Anchorage Daily News.

3/13/2020

    • RESPONSE: Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
      • Main webpage on how ATC is working to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
      • Statement by ATC President & CEO Sandi Marra.
      • Guidelines for hikers.
      • Guidelines for volunteers.
      • Cancellation of April 25-26 Flip Flop Festival in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
      • Closure: ATC Headquarters in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (until at least 3/20/20 when conditions will be reassessed). 
    • RESPONSE: Continental Divide Trail Coalition
      • Main webpage of CDT closures and alerts, and guidance for long-distance hikers/riders.
      • Statement by CDTC Executive Director Teresa Ana Martinez (3/13/20).
      • Cancellation of April 24-26 Continental Divide Trail Days in Silver City, New Mexico.
    • RESPONSE: Pacific Crest Trail Association
      • Statement by PCTA CEO and Executive Director Liz Bergeron (3/13/20).
      • Cancellation of all in-person PCTA meetings and events (until at least 5/1/20). 
    • RESPONSE: Arizona Trail Association
      • Guidelines for hikers/riders from the ATA (3/13/20).
    • EVENTS: Partnership for the National Trails System
      • PNTS posted a special update regarding its May Workshop (scheduled for May 18-22 in New Mexico):
        • “Trail friends, advocates and partners: As you know, the COVID-19 situation is evolving quickly. At this point, we have not canceled our workshop for May in New Mexico. We have set a go/no go date in April and will announce the decision at that time. We understand that people have to make decisions about travel and families and other obligations. If the workshop is held, we will try to make sure that the variety of outcomes and thinking get shared with our community. Coronavirus is a social and economic justice issue, as well as a health crisis. Public health experts urgently advise those at lower risk of illness to take proactive precautionary measures (like social distancing, self-quarantining when sick, washing hands) not just to protect themselves, but to protect the most vulnerable and slow the spread of the disease (see here). Check back for additional updates!”
    • EVENTS: Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals
      • The 2020 National Outdoor Recreation Conference (scheduled for April 27-30 in Knoxville, Tennessee) has been postponed to later in 2020, likely in August or September. 
        • SORP wrote on the conference webpage, “Previously, the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals decided to move forward with the 2020 National Outdoor Recreation Conference as planned. We were very excited about the 2020 NORC and being in Knoxville the last week of April, but also understand the social and ethical responsibility we have to minimize our potential contribution to the spread of COVID-19. As such and in light of the rapidly evolving updates on this virus, we have decided to put the conference on hold. Our intent is to still have the 2020 NORC, but at a later date in 2020 (likely in August or September). We, along with our partners and supporters, feel that this is the best path forward at this time. We are still excited and hope you’ll still join us for our great line-up of speakers, exhibitors, and events at the rescheduled 2020 NORC (specific dates to be determined)! If you have already registered for the 2020 NORC, we encourage you to consider keeping your registration for the rescheduled conference. If you are a conference presenter, we also encourage you to do the same. We hope to announce the rescheduled conference dates in the coming week and thank you in advance for your patience as we work through the details of rescheduling.”
    • NEWS: Coronavirus Impacts Reaching National Parks, Raising Concerns.
      • Article written by National Parks Traveler.
    • NEWS: Hiking in the Age of Coronavirus: What to Consider.
      • Article written by The Trek (references the PCT, AT, CDT). 

3/12/2020

  • EVENTS: Santa Fe Trail Association
    • SFTA was notified that March 14th and 15th events planned by SFTA chapters were canceled. 
      • In the organization’s 3/12/20 e-news, SFTA wrote, “We would not be surprised if other cancellations take place and advise anyone attending an event to first call or google the organizer for updates. We try to list phone numbers for all activities. You can also visit the website of the National Historic Sites and Parks along the Trail for more information.”

3/11/2020

  • EVENTS: Florida Trail Association
    • FTA’s Annual Meeting (scheduled for April 4th in Gainesville) was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. 
      • In the organization’s 3/11/20 e-news, FTA wrote, “Due to concerns about COVID-19, the FTA board has decided to cancel the Annual Meeting, Board Meeting and Chapter Council Meeting scheduled for April 4th in Gainesville. After considering the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, FTA leadership has decided that an abundance of caution is warranted. Specifically, their direction includes: ‘replacing in-person meetings in the workplace with video or telephone conferences and postponing non-essential meetings and travel.’ Based off this recommendation, we will attempt to reschedule these meetings for July 18th, the date of the next FTA board meeting, unless conditions warrant otherwise. Stay tuned for updates as the date approaches. We apologize for any inconvenience this decision may cause for you. Hopefully this decision has been issued with enough time that you are able to cancel your travel plans without incurring any fees.”

3/10/2020

    • RESOURCE: SHIFT Health and Nature Webinar Series
      • Webinar on “The Health and Nature Movement”

3/9/2020

    • EVENTS: Professional TrailBuilders Association
      • The Sustainable Trails Conference (scheduled for March 15-21, 2020) has been been postponed to March 7-13, 2021 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Details here.
        • PTBA wrote, “This decision has been made after a thorough review of the coronavirus threat and careful deliberation with our local partners.  Additionally, so many of our attendees have received agency and company-wide travel bans, and we expect more as the week progresses. Our goal is to put on a successful, educational, positive, and safe event for all participants and our host community. Unfortunately, we don’t think it is possible to achieve this in the current climate. Though we are so disappointed to issue this news, we know that being healthy is integral to trailbuilders’ success, and feel that this decision best supports that goal. We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to wait for forthcoming communication from PTBA. You can select a refund for your conference and/or workshop registration fees OR decide to apply those funds to our 2021 event (no action needed).”

3/3/2020

    • RESOURCE: Outdoor Industry Association
      • Webinar about The Economic Impact of the Coronavirus and What Happens Next.