|Week of March 12-18, 1998
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Disabled access to Yellowstone
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Disabled access to Yellowstone's wonders
Question: I’m disabled (paralyzed from the shoulders down) and I would like to take my 8-year-old son to Yellowstone this summer. What could we do there? Are there accessible trails and lodging? Thanks for your help.
Adventure Adviser: Yellowstone is trying to make as much of the park physically accessible as quickly as they can within possible funding limitations. Their literature, however, states that some of the facilities described as accessible do not necessarily comply with federal standards, which means that some facilities may require that wheelchair users have assistance. That said, it seems like Yellowstone is making significant headway toward making the park accessible.
First off, Yellowstone offers a Golden Access Passport to blind and permanently disabled people. The passport is a free lifetime entrance pass to federal parks, historic sites, and recreation areas that charge fees. It admits the permit holder and any accompanying passenger in a private vehicle. You can obtain the pass at any visitor center or entrance station. Discounts are also given on federal use fees charged for camping, boat launching, etc. The only thing the pass doesn’t cover is fees charged by private concessionaires.
Accessible lodging in Yellowstone can be found at Canyon, Grant Village, Old Faithful, and Lake, however, the only accessible showers are at Grant Village and Old Faithful. Call Amfac Parks and Resorts (307-344-7311) for lodging information and reservations. Accessible campsites are located at the RV park at Fishing Bridge, Madison, Canyon, Bridge Bay, and Grant. There’s even a backcountry accessible site at Ice Lake. Call 307-344-2160 for details. The best way to find out about accessible trails is to get a hold of Discover Yellowstone, a summer publication available through the park, which lists accessible ranger-led activities. You can also check out Yellowstone’s website at www.nps.gov/yell, which includes a “Visitor Guide to Accessible Features in Yellowstone National Park.” If you don’t have access to the internet, call Yellowstone’s Public Information Officer at 307-344-2013 for more details.