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Masks required at Park Service facilities

Sugarlands Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sugarlands Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Face masks are now required at all National Park Service buildings and facilities as a result of President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing issued Jan. 20.

Masks are not required outdoors when physical distancing is observed but are mandated when it is not possible, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks and historic homes. Additional public health measures are in place across the service, from capacity limits to one-way trails, or even temporary closures in response to local conditions.

“Wearing a mask around others, physical distancing, and washing your hands are the simplest and most effective public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said NPS Office of Public Health Director Captain Sara Newman. “Getting outside and enjoying our public lands is essential to improving mental and physical health, but we all need to work together to recreate responsibly.”

Visitors should check individual park websites and social media channels for details on operations before visiting. Park rangers are on duty to uphold the mask requirement and to provide information, protect visitors and protect park resources.

For more tips on recreating responsibly, visit


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