Education and Communication

 

Sign Language Saturday

Recreational Trails funding was used to provide sign language interpreted tours and advanced audio equipment for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing visitors to the Kartchner Caverns and trail hikes within the park.

In November 1974 two young cavers, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, were exploring the limestone hills at the base of the Whetstone Mountains outside of Benson, Arizona. In the bottom of a sinkhole they found a narrow crack leading into the hillside. Warm, moist air flowed out, signaling the existence of a cave. After several hours of crawling, they entered a pristine cavern.

It wasn’t until February 1978 that Tenen and Tufts told the property owners, James and Lois Kartchner, about their amazing discovery. During the four years of secret exploration, the discoverers realized that the cave’s extraordinary variety of colors and formations must be preserved. The cave’s existence became public knowledge in 1988 when its purchase was approved as an Arizona State Park.

The park, and cave have since become a popular destination for visitors from around the world, specifically the guided cave tours which are conducted multiple times per day. Accessible pathways developed within the cave allow visitors with mobility issues to access this underground treasure, during which skilled interpretative guides discuss the history and development of the cave. Unfortunately, this type of interpretation excludes visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing.

In an effort to address this issue, Recreational Trails funding was used to provide sign language interpreted tours and advanced audio equipment for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing visitors to the Kartchner Caverns and trail hikes within the park. Funds paid sign language interpreters to participate in regularly scheduled cave tours and other trail hikes.


More winners of this award

2023: Avalanche Beacon Checking Station Signs

2023: Sensible, Courteous, Off-Road, Enthusiasts / SCORE

2020: Nevada’s Outdoor School’s Outdoor Ethics Program

2019: Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center (GNFAC) – Montana

2018: Spearhead Trails - Virginia

2017: Woodruff Greenway Trail - South Carolina

2016: Great Trails: Providing Quality OHV Trails and Experiences Guidebook (Nationwide)

2015: Blue Tree Trail System - Nevada

2014: Missouri State Parks Trail Book

2013: School Messaging Program - Minnesota

2012: Intertwine Alliance Bi-State Regional Trails Website - Oregon and Washingston

2011: Shadow Mountain Trail System - Wyoming

2010: Coalition of Recreational Trail Users Educational Trailer - Minnesota

2009: Giant's Stairs Trail Project - Maine

2008: Recreation Maps and Educational Materials - Wyoming

2007: Trail Planning, Design & Development Guidelines Book - Minnesota

2006: Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park - Virginia

2005: North Slope Trailer Project - Wyoming

2004: Western Wyoming Avalanche Education - Wyoming

2004: Sensible, Courteous Off Road Enthusiasts (SCORE) - Pennsylvania

2003: Green Ridge State Forest & Rocky Gap State Park Trail - Maryland