Access Today: March/April 2010

NCA training course participants inspect the tactile 3-dimensional map at the Alamo in San Antonio.Interpreters, Planners & Designers Gather in San Antonio for NCA Training
Professionals from throughout the United States, and as far away as Guam, traveled to San Antonio last week for NCA’s Universal Approach to Interpretive Programs, Planning and Design. NCA instructors were joined by guest instructors Beth Ziebarth, Accessibility Coordinator at the Smithsonian Institution, and Betty Siegel, Accessibility Coordinator at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Participants were able to apply their new knowledge during field visits to the Alamo and the San Antonio Children’s Museum.
Trails Training Set for Bradford Woods
Spring is in the air in Indiana and NCA instructors are hard at work preparing for our 21st Century Trails Symposium at Bradford Woods. Bill Botten, U.S. Access Board, will be making presentations on the new Draft Final Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas. Participants will also have the opportunity to tour Bradford Woods,

Sandusky Gives New Life to Community Greenhouse

The winter weather outside might be frightful, but the blooms of the newly renovated Sandusky Community Greenhouse are absolutely delightful. The community greenhouse and Sandusky/Erie Community Foundation are beneficiaries of one of the $15 million in grants awarded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Access to Recreation initiative.

Access Board Issues Draft Final Rule for Outdoor Developed Areas

by Jennifer Skulski

Accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas managed by federal agencies are one step closer to becoming standards. On October 19, 2009, the U.S. Access Board released the Draft Final Accessibility Guidelines for Federal Outdoor Areas covered by the Architectural Barriers Act.

This draft marks another milestone of more than 15 years of work by the Access Board and vested stakeholders including regulatory negotiation in 1999. The issuance of this draft document brings the adoption of accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas closer to finalization and implementation under the Architectural Barriers Act. It further defines accessibility considerations for outdoor recreation environments and provides needed guidance to land managers on minimum standards to design for the inclusion of people with disabilities in these outdoor environments.

Four Things You Can Do in 2010 to Improve Access for Visitors with Disabilities

by Jennifer Skulski

“Doing more with less” seems to be the decades old mantra for many park and recreation agencies. These lean economic times aren’t any different. Simply, the frequency by which the old saying is used has increased and practitioners are pushed once again to find creative new approaches to meet bigger challenges. However, even when budgets are tight, recreation providers cannot afford to ignore ADA and Section 504 compliance. Here are four no-cost or low cost things you can do in 2010 to keep your accessibility management program on track and continue planning for improved access for your participants and visitors with disabilities.

NCA Seeks Land Managers with Trails to Participate in National Study

The National Center on Accessibility is seeking land managers with pedestrian trails in public parks, forests, lands, and other recreation areas to participate in a national study on the accessibility of various types of soil stabilization products. This is the second of a four phase national trails study conducted by the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University with support from the U.S. Access Board.

Ray Bloomer Honored with NPS Accessibility Achievement Award

On October 22, 2009 Ray Bloomer, NCA Director of Education and Technical Assistance, was presented with the 2009 Accessibility Leadership Achievement Award. The award, which is given to an individual or team whose active leadership has resulted in improved accessibility within the National Park System (NPS) for persons with disabilities; has increased visibility for the issue of accessibility in the parks; or has provided policy development and implementation recognizes Ray’s outstanding dedication and leadership in ensuring that accessibility and universal design are major considerations for NPS facilities and programs. “I was very surprised and very honored,” comments Bloomer.