While notable advancements have been made, much is needed to break down the barriers and embrace greater inclusivity. Parks, programs, and leaders across the service need more education, guidance, support, and resources to create more welcoming experiences for a broad spectrum of audiences.
Visitors of all levels of ability are drawn to our national parks. When they arrive, we hope they engage with the rich collection of stories and resources that reflect our national heritage and diversity. In their daily work supporting our mission, employees plan, design, build, and support facilities and programs aimed at enhancing the visitors’ understanding, safety, comfort, and enjoyment of park resources. Along the way, a series of choices and trade-offs are made ranging from material, media type, and cost to aesthetics and presentation, which can impact access levels for visitors with disabilities. Implicit in the National Park Service mission is that all members of our visiting public are afforded access to our significant sites and the stories within. Knowing that only a coordinated approach to a challenge of this magnitude would work, Director’s Order 42 was released to set the National Park Service on a path of continuous improvement.
While outstanding projects have been completed since, many programs, facilities, and services fall short of carrying out this goal. Why? In general, collective awareness and organizational commitment to make significant cultural changes across the park system have drifted as additional priorities have arisen and public expectations have shifted. This lack of continued, focused attention to address and correct known accessibility problems has inhibited our progress, and remains frustrating to our visitors, staffs, and stakeholders.
Published August 2014
posted Feb 21, 2023
This study has been conducted in response to the imperative offered by the JEDI Task Force.
posted Feb 8, 2023
The purpose of this guide is to highlight the work of service and conservation Corps who develop and manage identity-based programs and crews, discuss the intention and purpose of these crews, why they are important, and how they have been transformational experiences for Corpsmembers and partners.
posted Jul 8, 2022
Recommendations from American Trails
posted Nov 9, 2021
Everything you need to know about planning, building, and maintaining accessible trails.