WASHINGTON (AP) — Meteorologists who work in national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other protected areas will have to travel to campsites to be on call during the 2020s.
And they’re going to have to make the extra effort to pack their gear.
The Interior Department said Tuesday that campsites and campgrounds must be staffed for about 12 hours a day.
The move is aimed at reducing long lines of people waiting for the last minute.
The Interior Department also will limit the number of people allowed into the national parks and forests, which make up about 95 percent of the country’s land mass, to 30 a day, up from 25.
The rule changes were announced Monday by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Zinke said he wants to be more selective about who is allowed into protected areas and that his goal is to reduce wait times.
He said that if people cannot find places to stay in the parks, they can go to a hotel or motel.
A total of 765 people will be allowed into parks and other public lands during the year, down from 1,943 in the past.
“We want to give the best possible experience for our people, and that includes people in campgrounds and campsites,” Zinke said.
In 2018, Zinke has proposed reducing wait times in national park refugia by 30 minutes.
Interior Secretary Dan Ashe, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina, also wants to reduce the number who can come to the national forests, including those who are staying at campsites.
The agency is planning to limit the campgrounds to 30 people a day from the current 40.
More from AP: Zakir Naik, an expert on climate change, will address a meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday.
He will speak on the issue of climate change and its impacts.
Bethany A. Smith is a freelance science writer for The Associated Press.