Yosemite National Park has added several new American Sign Language services that are available both in the park, and at your home.
The services include a video series on the park’s Youtube Channel, continued ranger programs, and an e-newsletter. These services are designed to ensure visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing have equal access to all program offerings at Yosemite.
The videos added to the park’s Youtube Channel provide information on driving in Yosemite, obtaining an Access Pass, requesting an interpreter, and many other useful topics. Five more videos are scheduled to be posted later in the summer and will cover an array of topics.
Yosemite also has a full-time sign language interpreter in the park throughout the summer. Currently, the park’s certified sign language interpreter is Jessica Cole, who is serving her third season in the park. Ms. Cole will be stationed in Yosemite until August 24 and will be available every Wednesday afternoon at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. Additionally, she is available for advance appointments.
Interpreting services are available for all official park programs, including tours, ranger programs, and theater presentations. During the summer, advance notice is highly recommended, but not required.
For more information on these services, Ms. Cole can be reached on videophone at 209-222-3944, or by voice and text at 209-379-5250. During the off-season, interpreting services must be requested two weeks in advance to allow time to contract with certified interpreters in the area.
A public videophone is available at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls for visitors to use while in the park. Additionally, hotel kits are available at all lodging units in the park complete with light flasher systems for the door, smoke alarm, and telephone. Assistive listening devices are also available at most visitor centers and tour desks throughout the park, and there is an UbiDuo at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center for face-to-face, typed conversations.
Visitors interested in learning more about the Yosemite Deaf Services program can sign up for an e-newsletter at this site. Additional information regarding the program’s upcoming 35th anniversary and other special events, visit the Yosemite Deaf Services blog.