June 18, 2020
Dear Acting Director Vela:
I am writing to you on behalf of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks to commend Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly, his staff, and local public health partners for their outstanding management and implementation of the park’s COVID-19 reopening plan. We are impressed and greatly supportive of Yellowstone’s proactive weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing of employees, and the transparency with which the park shares the results with the public: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/news/20026.htm
We admire Yellowstone’s approach and believe it represents the high level of public service that we and park visitors have come to expect from the National Park Service. We imagine this type of candor inspires public, community, and employee confidence that the park’s reopening procedures are effective; and clearly demonstrates that Yellowstone management and staff are concerned about the public welfare during the pandemic. We encourage other destination parks to establish similar employee surveillance testing, to the extent that local public health programs can support it.
Please extend our deepest appreciation to Cam for his bold leadership and forthrightness on this challenging issue. We are appreciative to you and others in the chain-of-command who have supported Yellowstone’s approach.
Philip A. Francis, Jr., Chair
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks