National Park Service resumes closure for three areas on Navajo Nation

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Three National Park Service locations on the Navajo Nation in Arizona are remaining closed after park officials reviewed the latest public health emergency orders issued by the tribe.

The Southern Four Corners Group issued a press release on Aug. 15 that outlined limited operations for Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Chinle, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site in Ganado and Navajo National Monument near Kayenta.

The group, which manages the locations under the National Park Service, retracted the decision two days later and clarified that the sites remain closed to comply with the Aug. 16 public health emergency order by the Navajo Department of Health.

Lyn Carranza, superintendent for the Southern Four Corners Group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"With the phased reopening of the Navajo Nation, visitors will be informed by public health emergency order when the Navajo Nation can safely welcome visitors back to the nation," according to statements on the Facebook pages for Canyon de Chelly and Hubbell.

Spider Rock at Canyon de Chelly National Monument is pictured on Aug. 27, 2016 in Chinle, Arizona.

The tribe's health department emergency order, issued because of the coronavirus, reinforced the closure of tribal roads to visitors and tourists and continued the closure of parks, recreation sites and points of interest operated by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department.

It also maintains the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily curfew and places the reservation under lockdown for 32 hours during weekends this month.

The websites and Facebook pages for each site states the closures are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and recommendations from state and local public health authorities in consultation with National Park Service Public Health Service officers.

"We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding during this uncertain time," posts on each locations' Facebook page states.

Services and operations at the three sites have been closed since March 23.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

Support local journalism with a digital subscription to The Daily Times.

Betatkin Canyon at Navajo National Monument near Kayenta, Arizona is pictured on June 6, 2015.