WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-MI) introduced legislation that would prohibit the National Park Service from shutting down or limiting outdoor recreation at national parks due to COVID-19. Rep. McClain introduced this legislation after the National Park Service announced plans to limit access to the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. during the peak bloom of the cherry blossom trees.

Joining McClain as original cosponsors of the bill are Reps. Yvette Herrell (R-NM), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Bob Good (R-VA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Jim Banks (R-IN), Tom Tiffany (R-WI) and Byron Donalds (R-FL).

“Our national parks belong to our country’s taxpayers and outdoor recreation should not be limited due to COVID-19,” said Rep. McClain. “The science says it is safe, so let’s follow the science and stop using the coronavirus as an excuse to further limit American’s freedoms.”

“Last year, many public lands were closed on the debunked claim it would slow the spread of the virus. We know now that there is no epidemiological evidence to support keeping these national parks closed. This legislation follows the science by allowing Americans to continue to recreate on our public lands. I’m a proud cosponsor,” said Rep. McClintock.

“America’s National Parks consist of magnificent vistas, landscapes, and pristine waters, including in Florida’s 19th Congressional District, home of the Everglades. During the unprecedented times brought on by the pandemic, the great outdoors provides a much-needed change of scenery from the harmful lockdowns taking place throughout our nation. I am proud to support Rep. McClain’s bill that ensures the National Park Service cannot restrict or limit outdoor recreational use of these tranquil lands,” said Rep. Donalds.

 “Our National Parks and public lands offer important mental health benefits for the American people.  For the past year, Americans have been able seek respite and solace in many of their public lands during these challenging times. I’m proud to join my colleagues in the House in urging the Biden Administration to not restrict American’s access to their public lands and recreation due to COVID,” said Rep. Good.  

Both outdoor recreation and nature-based activities help improve health and wellness. Given the physical and mental toll the coronavirus has had on many, the National Park Service should be increasing opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors, not adding unnecessary limitations and restrictions on our parks. This legislation would prohibit all limits on outdoor recreation on National Park Service lands due to the coronavirus during 2021.

For text of the bill, click here.