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Case Study: Kings Canyon NP

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, in Central California, protects over 1,300 square miles of rugged wilderness in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. About 1.5 to 1.7 million people visit per year to see giant sequoia groves, including the General Sherman tree, which is the largest in the world, and alpine peaks, including Mt. Whitney, which is the tallest peak in the contiguous United States.

The park already had assistive listening systems in auditoriums and amphitheaters, and captioning for all park films shown in visitor centers. Some films are also audio-described. The park offers Braille transcriptions of the park brochure for loan and some of outdoor wayside exhibits have Braille text and tactile maps and models.

CAP was able to supplement the park’s existing assistive technology by providing over-ear wireless microphones that work with the existing assistive listening systems.

During employee meetings, presenters use the microphones provided by the CAP program with the assistive listening systems. The microphones are also available for use during evening campfire programs for the general public, and special presentations in the park auditoriums.

“Our assistive listening systems weren't widely used at first, so we've been training with our visitor center staff to use the systems and encouraging them to try them out. Now that they're more familiar with how they work, it will be easier for them to recommend them to visitors or coworkers.”

These microphones are wireless, allowing speakers to step away from the podium and gesture or use their hands for other tasks during their presentations. The wireless microphones have less feedback than handheld and lapel models. Rangers and staff give them good reviews.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks was able to supplement existing accessibility tools to improve the experience of working for and visiting the parks.  Even if your public facility already has tools in place, CAP may be able to assist with additional resources.  This is also a great example of the importance of training staff about assistive technology.

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