President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that national parks will begin reopening as states move to begin relaxing coronavirus restrictions in the upcoming weeks.
The Republican president made the announcement during a tree-planting ceremony held on the South Lawn of the White House in recognition of Earth Day and Arbor Day.
“Thanks to our significant progress against the invisible enemy, I am pleased to announce that in line with my administration’s guidelines for opening up America again we will begin to reopen our national parks and public lands for the American people to enjoy,” Trump said.
Vice President Mike Pence added that the administration will “work closely with governors” to reopen the parks and public lands “so that the American people can enjoy the blessings of these extraordinary places.”
During his remarks, Trump asked Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to give a timeline for reopening the parks. Bernhardt said the decisions would be made alongside governors’ plans to reopen the states.
“You have a lot of land to open up, too,” Trump said. “People are going to be very happy.”
The National Park Service has closed many parks across the country, including the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“The NPS is working with federal, state, and local authorities, while we as a nation respond to this public health challenge,” NPS Deputy Director David Vela said.