By Greg Bird
The National Park Service announced this week that it is beginning to lift restrictions and using a phased approach to increase access to park areas, including portions of the Big South Fork River and Recreation Area.
On Monday the service restored access to trails and backcountry camping in the park, but have kept visitor centers, restroom facilities and other areas closed for the time being.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Big South Fork, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored,” said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas. “We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.”
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice “Leave No Trace principles,” avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
In related news McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie Greene II said he is exploring plans to open limited camping access at county-owned facilities, such as the Sandhill Camp. The initial plan is to open limited camp spaces, and the restroom facilities would be open only to campers. The area will also be regularly patrolled to maintain social distancing.
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on the Park Service website (www.nps.gov/biso) and social media channels.