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Natural Beauty For All: Making National Parks More Accessible

Natural Beauty For All: Making National Parks More Accessible

With almost thirty national parks in California and nearly sixty across the wider country, America is one of the world’s natural beauty hotspots. But for the 40 million Americans who have a disability, accessing these picturesque locations can sometimes seem like a difficult task – and as CNN reports, it can sometimes leave travelers with disabilities feeling like they’re being isolated. From the lack of smooth paths to limited wheelchair access, there are all kinds of reasons why travel locations with gorgeous natural beauty aren’t always very accessibility-friendly. Some attention is, though, now being focused on making spaces like these as accessible as possible: locations like Montana’s Glacier National Park, for example, have installed wheelchair-friendly trails in some parts of the park. With that in mind, this article will look at some more accessibility ideas for national park managers and other travel and outdoors professionals to consider. Make paths smoother National parks do, of course, need to remain as natural as possible in order to respect ecosystems and continue to encourage tourism. But the lack of investment in the infrastructure around some of America’s natural spots means that sometimes not even basic access is possible. In some locations, not even the paths around car parks and other important areas are smooth – which means that those who find walking a challenge may be unable to even get as far as the base of a mountain or the side of a lake. But there are some positive signs: the California Department of Parks and Recreation, for example, has released a tool which allows visitors with disabilities to plan trips to...