Moorcroft Leader - The Voice of the Community Since 1909, Serving Moorcroft and Pine Haven, Wyoming

Project to improve accessibility at Devils Tower

 

September 17, 2020

Work resumes this week on a project to improve accessibility at Devils Tower. Superintendent Amnesty Kochanowski said, “We want all people to be able to experience the nation’s first national monument. The accessibility project has been in the planning and design phase for nearly a decade. As it comes to fruition in 2020 and 2021, we thank the community and visitors for their patience with construction.”

Ground broke in February and work completed in the visitor center area thus far includes:

• Rehabilitating restrooms to meet accessibility standards

• Installing two, accessible vault toilets near the Tower Trail and Red Beds trailhead

• Increasing sidewalk widths, repaving the upper parking lot, and adding accessible parking spaces and a bus drop off

• Adding a new, accessible trail from the parking lot to the base of the Tower

The remaining elements of the project include pouring concrete on the new trail, adding two plazas along the trail, and installing visitor center exhibits and signs along the Tower Trail. Installation of these exhibits will cap off the project in spring of 2021.

Kochanowski said the project cost nearly $4 million. “The majority of the project is funded with entrance and campground fees collected at Devils Tower. We’re grateful to be able to share Devils Tower with close to half a million visitors per year and want visitors to know they directly help make projects of this magnitude possible,” she said.

Additional funding includes $716,570 from the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Lands Transportation Program and $260,000 awarded under a National Park Service Centennial matching grant from the National Park Foundation.

In addition to the dramatic improvements in accessibility, the project will correct $1.4 million of the park’s $6 million in deferred maintenance.

Devils Tower National Monument is one of several national park units chosen by the National Park Service to undergo comprehensive accessibility improvements through the landmark Targeted Accessibility Improvement Program. The program originated under the NPS “All In!” five-year accessibility initiative to ensure that all visitors are afforded access to our nation’s significant sites and the stories within.

Michael Whiteman-Jones, NPS Regional Accessibility Coordinator, said, “This accessibility project is a standout model for the National Park Service. A hard-won major accomplishment for the park – not to mention the local community, state, and people with disabilities everywhere – can all be proud of and enjoy.”

Devils Tower will remain open during construction, but visitors could experience delays entering the park and increased parking congestion near the visitor center area. Additional visitor planning information will be posted on the park website and social media channels as the project progresses.

 
 

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