Yellowstone one of 3 popular national parks closing gates

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Virus Outbreak National Parks

FILE – In this Aug. 28, 2016 file photo visitors watch the morning sun illuminate the Grand Tetons from within the Great Room at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park north of Jackson, Wyo. On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the National Park Service announced that Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks would be closed until further notice, and no visitor access will be permitted to either park. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley,File)

CHEYENNE, Wyoming (AP) — Three of America’s most well-known national parks -Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Smoky Mountains, closed their gates Tuesday as people shut in because of the coronavirus lost more options for recreation. 

They join a growing list of parks closing despite an announcement last week by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that they would remain open with free entrance fees.

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Yosemite National Park in California have also closed. Other parks have closed shuttles, campgrounds, visitor centers and some trails to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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