Updated: May 21, 2020 05:23 PM
Created: May 21, 2020 03:38 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The secretary of the interior was at the Petroglyphs Thursday today to talk about the president’s plan to reopen national parks.
New Mexico is home to 15 national parks. The decision to fully reopen them will be made on a park-by-park basis.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said the federal government is working with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to decide what’s best for the state.
“You know, obviously, she has her protective order for face coverings but the CDC guidelines are very clear that facial coverings are encouraged if you can’t maintain social distancing but on a facility like this you really should be able to maintain social distancing," said Bernhardt.
Bernhardt toured the Petroglyphs. The open trails have busy since the pandemic hit.
“We’ve actually seen increases in visitation. Quite substantial increases at our major trailheads-- in particular volcanoes and Rinconada Canyon more than doubled in the month of March so that was big for us," said park superintendent Nancy Hendricks.
Officials say they plan to reopen the visitor center on June 8 if they get enough disinfectant. They’ll also limit the number of people allowed inside.
In the meantime, Bernhardt says there’s a lot of benefits to using the areas that are open
“The public lands provide respite, they provide solace, they provide an opportunity for contemplation, and they can actually be beneficial to our public health," he said.
Copyright 2020 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company