I. Use of wheelchairs for the mobility impaired is allowed in the backcountry in accordance with the following regulations:
CFR 36, Part 1. Section 1.2 (e): The regulations in this chapter are intended to treat a mobility-impaired person using a manual or motorized wheelchair as a pedestrian, and are not intended to restrict the activities of such a person beyond the degree that the activities of a pedestrian are restricted by the same regulations.
Manual and motorized wheelchairs as defined in section 1.4:
Manual wheelchair: A device that is propelled by human power, designed for and used by a mobility-impaired person.
Motorized wheelchair: A self-propelled wheeled device, designed solely for and used by a mobility-impaired person for locomotion, that is both capable of and suitable for use in indoor pedestrian areas.
National Wilderness Preservation System, Section 507:
(1) In General-Congress reaffirms that nothing in the Wilderness Act is to be construed as prohibiting the use of a wheelchair in a wilderness area by an individual whose disability requires the use of a wheelchair, and consistent with the Wilderness Act, no agency is required to provide any form of special treatment or accommodation, or to construct any facility or modify any conditions of lands within a wilderness area to facilitate such use.
(2) Definition-For the purposes of paragraph (1), the term wheelchair means a device designed solely for the use by a mobility-impaired person for locomotion that is suitable for use in an indoor pedestrian area.
II. Use of guide dogs for the hearing and vision impaired and other service animals in the backcountry is allowed with the following guidelines:
A service animal is defined as an animal that performs some of the
functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform such as carrying a pack for persons with mobility impairments, assisting persons with balance, or alerting medically dependent persons of specific conditions (such as oncoming seizures).
Prior to accessing the backcountry with a guide dog or service animal, individuals with disabilities shall complete and obtain the Guide/Service Animal Permit; ask for Yell 470.
Companion dogs or other pets for the mentally or emotionally impaired are not allowed in the backcountry, or on nature trails or boardwalks.
The information on this page is also available in a free handout, Yell 446.