Shenandoah National Park Implements New Emergency and Event Alert System

by Amy Myers
Photo by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

In order to more effectively and efficiently communicate with visitors, Shenandoah National Park has implemented a new alert system.

According to the park, the new system separates park alerts into two channels – emergency information and event updates. Subscribers to the SHENALERTS channel can expect to receive alerts regarding any hazardous situations, road closures, weather events and other significant details pertinent to visitors’ safety. Meanwhile, the SHENCAMP channel sends updates regarding campsite availability and campground information.

In order to sign up for this new system, Shenandoah National Park visitors can text SHENCAMP and/or SHENALERTS to 888777.

“We hope this new system will provide valuable information to the public for planning their visits to Shenandoah,” said Park Superintendent Pat Kenney.

Subscribers can opt-out of this service whenever they choose. The national park also stressed that the service does not store any information about the subscriber.

Alerts are also available on the park’s website here.

Shenandoah National Park Shares Some of Its Natural Halloween Decor

The park’s new alert system comes at just the right time as autumn colors flood Shenandoah’s landscape. Fall is one of the most popular times for Shenandoah, particularly around Skyline Drive.

According to the park, though, the trees aren’t the only seasonal, natural attraction. In fact, visitors should be watching the ground just as much as they do the treetops.

“Natural decorations can be found all around if you take a close look so keep your eyes peeled for some fall appearances that are so on-theme, it’s spooky!” Shenandoah National Park informed on Instagram.

Among the natural Halloween decor, are the jack-o-lantern mushrooms and the white baneberry (also called doll’s eyes). Both of these plants are incredibly poisonous, only adding to their haunting qualities. The baneberry, in particular, is enough to keep you awake at night. Its white berries and red stems resemble an eyeball still attached to the optic nerve.

In addition to the forest-floor decor, Shenandoah National Park also warned against bringing external decorations, even plant-based ones, to the campsites.

“While pumpkins can be a wonderful decoration at home, they can pose a serious risk to our native wildlife,” the park cautioned. “Many of the park’s bears and other wildlife can turn your decorations into a snack. This can lead to a variety of problems for both visitors and wildlife.”

“Leaving pumpkins or pumpkin scraps unattended can unnaturally attract bears and other wildlife and cause them to become food-conditioned,” Shenandoah National Park continued. “This results in the animals losing their natural fear of humans, becoming more aggressive, and greatly increasing the likelihood of the animal becoming a repeat offender.”

In order to keep animal encounters at a minimum, it may be best just to leave the pumpkins at home.