Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Booker T. Washington National Monument in Hardy is increasing visitor services to provide orientations and more detailed information with limited access to the reconstructed kitchen cabin where Dr. Booker T. Washington was born in April 1856 and lived the first nine years of his life.
The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state and local public health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access and services on a park-by-park basis.
Booker T. Washington National Monument has increased access in these areas:
• Daily: Park brochures, trail maps and pre-stamped dated passport stamps are available for visitors at a distribution box located at the sidewalk kiosk in front of the park visitor center.
• Thursday-Sunday: Park staff will be available to provide information, orientations and roving interpretation between 10 a.m. and noon each day and again from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. either at the tent station in front of the park visitor center or along the Plantation Trail Loop in the park’s Historic Area (weather and staffing availability permitting).
In addition, the following spaces continue to be available on a daily basis: Park grounds, the Jack-O-Lantern Branch Trail, Historic Area Plantation Trail Loop and visitor center restrooms. The park will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With public health in mind, the visitor center will remain closed.
Tips for visiting during COVID-19 and the park’s current conditions and offerings are available at www.nps.gov/bowa/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.
“The health and safety of park visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount,” the park stated. “At Booker T. Washington National Monument, the 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. The park continues 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 some 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 is asked to follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
“The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” the park stated. “We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and we will take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.”
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