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May 12, 2008
Q) I love picture-taking in our national parks. My wife is in a wheelchair. Do you know of tours for the handicapped, or whom I could contact about helping us when we go to the national parks?
Via the Internet
A) According to the agency in charge, the Department of the Interior, “most…programs, facilities and activities are accessible to people with disabilities and [the Department] continues to be pro-active in its efforts to provide equal access.” Possibly the best way to get information specific to each park before you visit is to contact the Public Affairs Officer on site. I found a comprehensive list of individual names and phone numbers at www.nps.gov/pub_aff/refdesk/NP_POC.pdf. Ask about the Access Pass, which offers free admission to all federal recreation areas for those with permanent disabilities, http://store.usgs.gov/pass/access.html. There’s lots of information on the web. I typed in a Google search “National Parks Disabled Visitor” and found a multitude of sites that give specific information about access to Visitor’s Centers, exhibits and restrooms; you can find out which parks are friendliest to wheelchairs. I found a tour group for the disabled at www.disaboom.com. I wish you and your wife many enjoyable hours of photography in our national treasures.
This image is looking upstream from a bridge on the Yellowstone River just above the Upper Falls. These areas are easily accessible from a handicapped van. Photographed with a Canon EOS 5D and a 17mm lens.