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Learn about Service Animal Access at Public Parks

By Melissa Allman, Sr. Specialist, Advocacy & Government Relations

A man stands at Grand Canyon National park accompanied by his guide, a yellow lab/golden cross.

One of the reasons people choose to work with guide dogs is the freedom that comes with having greater independence and mobility in all kinds of situations—like hiking, for example. It can be exhilarating to navigate a trail by feeling your dog’s movements through the harness. National parks are a great place to experience that and although pets are often excluded, people with disabilities have a right to be accompanied by their service animals.

There may be situations where an area of the park is closed to service animals, such as when the presence of the animal jeopardizes the safe operation of the park’s services, but this is the exception, not the general rule. The National Park Service has aligned its policy with the Department of Justice’s ADA regulations. Check out this overview of the policy. If you want to read the policy memorandum, go here. 

Service animals are allowed by law in other types of parks such as state or local parks and amusement parks. Check out The Seeing Eye’s page on recreational settings here.