National Park Service Mask Guidance

Hello Level Walkers,

The following National Park Service.information is passed on from Emily Hewitt, the C&O Canal NHP Volunteer program manager.

Thanks for your support!


Dear Volunteers,

On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order No. 13991. To protect the health of those who live, work, and visit our national parks and facilities, and in support of the President’s Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, face masks are now required in all National Park Service (NPS) buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and historic homes. This mask requirement includes NPS volunteers, staff, contractors, and the general public. Masks are not a replacement for physical distancing. Please continue to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you and those not in your household while volunteering.

When they are required (inside park facilities and outside when physical distancing is not possible) masks must cover the nose and mouth and meet CDC and OSHA guidance. For employees and volunteers, Department of Interior (DOI) will not allow novelty/non-protective masks, masks with ventilation valves, face shields as a substitute for masks, or masks with messages or graphics that DOI prohibits. 

The NPS and the park will continue to provide information to the public and our volunteers as new guidance comes out. The park has already shared NPS messaging on our Facebook page and the NPS issued a news release. The park will also be posting signs in key locations. Please remember that a volunteer’s role is NOT to enforce regulations. It is acceptable to politely inform a visitor one time that masks are now required in national parks when physical distancing is not possible, but if a visitor does not comply, prioritize your own safety by maintaining physical distance and moving away from the individual. Again, volunteers are not authorized to enforce regulations. 

Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for your service to the park, and please stay safe.