The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and the City of Carlsbad are still receiving complaints from visitors attempting to tour Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Earlier in the year, the issue at the parks was related to long lines – people were coming to visit and then having to wait for several hours only to sometimes find out that they weren’t able to make it into the cavern due to the limited number of people allowed in each day because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Caverns changed its rules in March to a program requiring online reservations. This helped in that people who made reservations knew what to expect. However, this has caused its own set of problems, as some people are driving to Carlsbad not knowing that online reservations are required and then, after they get here, finding out that the spots have already been taken. We also understand that the phone lines to the park have been down.
We know everyone has been trying to balance returning operations to normal with pandemic safety concerns, but our COVID-19 numbers have been extremely low for several months now. We believe it is time that our national park amend its policies to a more accommodating policy allowing more visitors into the cavern each day. Tourism is a vital part of our local economy, and we want everyone who comes to Carlsbad to have a positive experience.
From the office of Mayor Dale Janway