In October 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a policy memorandum regarding the use of service animals by persons with disabilities in national parks. The revised policy aligns the NPS policy with the standards established by the Department of Justice and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Dogs classified as service animals are individually trained to perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Service dogs are legally permitted anywhere that visitors can go. They must be allowed wherever visitors are allowed.
Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.
Emotional support, therapy, and companion animals are not service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they have not been trained to provide a task directly related to a disability. Emotional support animals are considered to be a pet.
Service dogs-in-training are not service animals under ADA, but are considered pets. Pets must abide by the Individual Park Pet Regulations.
Last updated: May 25, 2023