The National Park Foundation (NPF)’s support of investing in accessibility helps make parks more accessible to people of varying abilities by supporting renovations at places like visitor centers, exhibits, parking lots, trails, restrooms, and more, as well as supporting programs that help ensure people of all abilities can have enjoyable and memorable experiences in our national parks.
Accessibility improvements in parks might include modifications to the incline, width, and grade of trails, adjustments to the height and placement of signs and exhibits, the installation of ramps and guardrails, or even the creation of new maps and informational materials so visitors can better plan their park trip. These projects help all people connect to and enjoy our national parks.
Highlights & Projects
Making The Point Accessible
One of the most visited locations in Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park is “The Point,” the top of the peninsula that offers visitors a perfect view of the confluence point of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers between the Blue Ridge Mountains. Funding from NPF is helping the park construct an accessible route to The Point so more visitors can access the vista. An ADA-accessible walkway will be installed, featuring new, informative waysides along the path.
Improvements at Devils Tower
An increased level of visitation at Devils Tower National Monument called for an update in the park’s infrastructure. With the help of NPF, the park is collaborating with the National Center on Accessibility to undertake improvements at its most popular areas, including the visitor center, the Tower Trail, and the climber registration building. The site will also install a new interpretive plaza equipped with a shade structure.
Accessible Anza Expedition Exhibit
In 2019, NPF and our partners supported the creation of a more physically accessible three-mile section of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail in southern Arizona. During “White Cane” days, over 150 students and educators from the nearby Arizona School of the Deaf and Blind (ASDB) gave feedback on the new exhibit, featuring an interactive outdoor space with a tactile archway entrance, musical and artistic elements, new seating, and outdoor classroom and more.
Introducing People to Parks
NPF partnered with Wilderness Inquiry and Toad & Co. to provide outdoor recreation and learning experiences, from introduction to immersion to engagement, including canoeing, camping, and land-based activities. The goal was to promote healthy, active lifestyles to people with disabilities and their families while introducing them to our national parks. The project reached over 1,000 park visitors.