National Park

Glacier National Park reinstates indoor mask mandate

News in brief

Glacier National Park has reinstated a mask mandate inside federal buildings, such as visitor centers.

While many commenters lamented the decision on social media, park officials say it stems from federal guidelines passed down from the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior. When the CDC reports a high level of COVID-19 community spread around a park, NPS Policy requires indoor mask requirements to return.

“In our situation, Glacier National Park spans two counties. If either of those counties reaches ‘high,’ there’s a protocol we follow that includes whether or not you have to wear masks,” said Gina Kerzman, a park public information officer. .

It happened last week in Glacier County, Montana, which includes part of the park and much of the Blackfeet Reservation.

“If levels drop, we hope to rescind the mask mandate. But we are just ready to respond according to our protocols, ”she said.

Other national parks could also bring back mask requirements if rates rise in the West.

However, some experts say reported COVID-19 infections are likely underestimated because many vaccinated people have milder symptoms and home tests are easier to obtain.

Kerzman says that from what park staff can tell, with or without a mask mandate, it’s going to be another busy year with vehicle reservations selling out daily.

She added that the mandate could result in changes to the park’s programming, including some activities having limited numbers or moving outdoors.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in the Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations throughout the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the public broadcasting company.