First Advisor

Barbara Garrett

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Document Type


Date Created



College of Natural and Health Sciences, Communication Sciences and Disorders, CSD Student Work


This research investigated the experiences of Deaf visitors to the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). The little research available focuses on how the National Park Service and its workers interact with Deaf people. Conversely, this study investigated the experiences of Deaf people and their perspective regarding interacting with the park and its members. A study regarding Deaf visitors in Yosemite National Park found that many were invisible to its employees. The desire from the Deaf community and lack of research shows the significance of this study. This analysis is crucial to the human experience as quality of life is improved with access to outdoor recreation. A narrative analysis approach from a first-person perspective of those who are Deaf and have spent time recreating in RMNP was used to secure this qualitative data. A purposive sampling technique helped to strategically identify participants who fit the necessary criteria. Participants were interviewed with open-ended and semi-structured questions. Then, a focus group was conducted. The interviews and the focus group were conducted via Zoom using certified ASL interpreters, and the interviews were subsequently transcribed. Transcriptions were thematically analyzed. The results showed that Deaf people experienced social, accessibility, educational, and economic barriers to outdoor recreation in RMNP, with social and accessibility barriers being the most prevalent. Participants discussed the need for more accessible park information, interpreters, inclusive social events, and better visual signage. Recommendations for RMNP included establishing a Deaf awareness day, adjusting signage to include visuals, and increasing access in all four above-mentioned categories.

Abstract Format



American Sign Language | Outdoor Education | Speech Pathology and Audiology


Deaf; Rocky Mountain National Park; National Park; Accessibility; Outdoors; Barriers; Tourism; ASL


National Parks; Rocky Mountain National Park; Colorado


53 pages

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.