Experts Reveal The Best And Worst US National Parks In Terms Of Accessibility

Experts Reveal The Best And Worst US National Parks In Terms Of Accessibility

The good news is that many of the nation's most beautiful wild or historical places are accessible. Plus, the National Parks Service (NPS) is continuously working to improve accessibility in various ways. Some of the issues that visitors with disabilities might encounter are relatively easy to improve, such as accessible bathrooms and parking, but it goes beyond that. So, NPS created an Accessibility Task Force to improve employee training, increase inclusive programming, and expand the parks' physical accessibility.

We called on Amanda Powell, an avid hiker living with mild cerebral palsy who writes the blog National Park Capable. She helped guide our research by showing that committee-created plans don't solely decide on increased use of the nation's parks. Mother Nature has a seat at the table as well. Using Rocky Mountain State Park as an example, she says it “does have some wheelchair-accessible trails, but because of the location and snow, it's not as accessible as you would hope. Sometimes the conditions of the trails, with the elevation and weather, make it not as accessible.”

Along those lines, AllTrails CEO Ron Schneidermann also acknowledges that some factors are inevitable, “Parks are working to increase the number of accessible trails, facilities, and amenities. But, likewise, sometimes, trails must be closed due to natural disasters, maintenance, overcrowding, etc. Needless to say, these are constantly in flux.”


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