National Parks Accessibility for all People with Disability
Disability Should Not Stop You Enjoying The Amazing National Parks
There are approximately 7 billion people that occupy this planet and it is estimated that 15% of those people face some sort of disability that can sometimes discourage them from living their lives just like the other 85% of humans. Disabilities do not have to distract us from living our lives. There is no one on earth that has been created to be 100% perfect and there never will be. There are always things that make us different than others, but those differences should never keep us from living life like any person on this earth. The National Parks Service has come to believe this as well and they have begun making steps to integrate the National Parks Accessibility to all people no matter their ability or disability.
National Parks Accessibility
National Parks Accessibility Effort
If you go to any national park today, you will notice that most of them are remarkably different than what they were many years ago. The trails are wider and better maintained, the restrooms have accessible features, and the visitor’s centers are built in a way where anyone can enter easily. There are still a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, they are all doing their best to ensure that all can come and enjoy the park without barriers on their ability. The efforts are not by accident, but a growing understanding that the 15% of individuals worldwide that have a disability are people and that all people need to have the ability to enjoy nature in its purest form. The renovations began in 2015 and are scheduled to continue until all national parks are completely accessible in all facets.
“National parks belong to all Americans, and the National Park Service will welcome all Americans to experience their parks.”
National Parks Service Management Policies 2006
An Added Encouragement to promote National Parks Accessibility
Disabled individuals can sometimes feel intimidated by the thought of visiting places they have never been before. The intimidation is simply because they do not know what to expect and that can be a little scary, but the national park registry has a kind of incentive for those that do choose to visit the national parks. They offer a free pass for anyone who is permanently disabled. Obtaining the pass is easy and can be done through different avenues.
The disabled person can request the pass via mail by submitting a document showing they are permanently disabled or you can obtain it in person in the same fashion. The pass is not just for those 100% disabled, but individuals that are impaired by their disability and limited as to major life opportunities. The pass allows for everyone within the vehicle entry to parks that have passenger vehicle fees, but only allows free entry for the individual with the pass at parks that require individual entrance fees to be paid.
Things to Consider Before Traveling to National Parks
The national parks make great efforts to include all people in activities and hikes. They never want anyone to feel left out of anything within the park, but there are limitations as to what they can do when it comes to nature. Many of the parks with cavern tours must be careful how they put up guardrails and even where the trails lead so they do not disturb the natural order of the cave. There are also many other parks that try to limit their impact on nature to keep the national park as natural as possible, so there are some things you may want to consider before deciding to visit national parks.