PROMONTORY – By Cari Doutre – April 27, 2020
The 2020 Golden Spike National Historic Park commemorative event on May 10, can officially be added to the list of cancellations this year. But don’t worry, the park, located in Promontory in Box Elder County, is still open – sort of.
This announcement comes after local and state health departments in Utah released orders that include restrictions on large public gatherings during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Those guidelines and restrictions set by the Bear River Health District, the Utah Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control are put in place to prevent further spreading of the virus also known as coronavirus.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers and partners at Golden Spike National Historic Park is our number one priority,” stated Brandon Flint, Incoming Superintendent, in a press release on April 27, 2020.
Instead of the traditional large gathering that celebrates the historic event of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in Promontory, Utah, Flint wants others to celebrate on a more individual level.
“This year we will commemorate May 10, on a more individual and personal level. Visitors can find commemorative videos, stories and photos on the park website and Facebook page to learn more about the day that forever changed our nation,” Flint added.
Two of the park’s biggest supporters, and fans of the May 10 event, Norm and Willie Nelson, also added a statement on the cancellation. The Nelsons are the Co-Chairs of the Golden Spike Association.
“The 151st anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s competition will still come to pass and deserves to be honored,” the Nelsons said in a joint statement.
“The association will produce the traditional 151st anniversary commemorative playbill that visitors love to collect when they visit the park,” the Nelsons added.
Those playbills will be available in the visitor center this summer. However, the park visitor center, bookstore and engine house are currently closed to the public, temporarily while the park works closely with the National Park Service as well as local, state and federal authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This decision doesn’t mean visitors can’t explore outdoor areas at the Golden Spike National Historic Park.
“Outdoor spaces and viewscapes at Golden Spike remain accessible to the public in accordance with the latest federal, state and local health guidance,” the press release stated.
Not only can visitors still explore the historic grounds outside – it’s also free! All entrance fees to the park are currently waived.
The park’s historic Last Spike site, the Big Fill hiking and trail area and the east auto tour are still open to the public.
If visitors are planning to make the trek out to Promontory to the site, the park asks that all visitors adhere to CDC and local and state health department guidelines.
As always, the National Park Service asks that all visitors “continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safer and healthier.”