How COVID-19 made a reservation at state parks in 2020

By: David Meyer

A gorgeous photograph from a state park in Texas (Image taken from: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/garner)

Starting over a century and a half ago, state parks have been great places for visitors to camp, to hike, and to view the amazing wildlife and scenery. They have also been safe havens for wildlife and people alike. However, with the introduction of COVID-19, this past year, state parks have had to shut down. Many reopened soon after the quarantine was lifted, but some were still unable to open to the public. This is because people who help maintain the parks got COVID-19 or are highly susceptible to getting it. 

With that being said, the pandemic has created an eagerness to get outdoors since quarantine ended because people want a change of scenery. Large numbers of people quickly began to fill up the parks with more visitors and more people willing to pay money to stay at these parks. This overflow helped many state parks recoup much of the money they had lost from their months of closure.

However, the increased revenue has ended up deficient in combating the issues that many state parks are facing. With the large influx of people, there has been an increase in trash and coronavirus littering throughout the parks. In turn, this leads to many workers at state parks having to go out more to help pick up the trash while increasing the chance for employees to contract COVID-19. Because of this, more state parks are beginning to close not only from having less healthy workers to maintain the parks but also from the lack of funding states can provide to help keep them open.

At the moment, many state parks have been staying open despite these troubles, but hopefully people maintain their excitement of visiting state parks after the pandemic eventually ends, so our beautiful parks can remain open to visitors and continue to be havens for wildlife and people alike.

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