NCA and NPS Renew Cooperative Agreement Focused on Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Parks, Recreation and Tourism
The National Park Service has renewed its five-year cooperative agreement with the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University. This is the fifth time NPS has renewed its cooperative agreement with IU since NCA was created in 1992 and this is the second consecutive 5-year agreement. “We are pleased to renew and extend our relationship with the National Park Service,” says NCA Executive Director, Dr. Sherril York. “It demonstrates not only the National Park Service commitment to inclusion of visitors with disabilities, but also the agency’s commitment to training and research that can benefit the entire industry of parks, recreation and tourism.”
NCA is a center of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Studies in the School of HPER. Originally housed at Bradford Woods, NCA moved to the Bloomington campus in 2000 and is now located in the IU Research Park at Morton and 10th St. While the National Park Service provides $268,000/year in base funding, the cooperative agreement does not guarantee funding. NPS financial support to NCA core services of training, technical assistance and research has remained flat-lined over the last 15 years. NCA is completely self-supportive, relying on external contracts and grants to drive its mission and create greater awareness of the importance of inclusive recreation for people with disabilities.
Summer Heat Keeps NCA Staff Busy on the Road
Michelle Cook, NCA Accessibility Specialist, measures the slope of the ramp access route to the Pearson Air Museum at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Funny how when July rolls around, senior staff at NCA start joking about how summer used to be our “slow season.” That’s certainly not the case anymore. In fact, NCA staff is busy raking up frequent flier miles with the demands of several new projects. In June, NCA hosted its Accessibility Management in Parks and Recreation training course in Portland. NCA instructors provided an overview of the federal regulations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Training attendees were able to apply new information on the ADA-ABA Accessibility Guidelines, the principles of universal design, proposed guidelines for outdoor developed areas, and program access during a field exercise to the Tualatin Hills Nature Park. The Accessibility Management course continues to be NCA’s most popular training program specifically designed for accessibility coordinators.
While in the Pacific Northwest this June, NCA conducted comprehensive physical and programmatic accessibility assessments of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
(Vancouver, WA) and Klondike Gold Rush
(Seattle, WA). Assessments of the parks are a new project between NCA and the National Park Service Accessibility Management Program where 40 small, non-fee national parks will be assessed over the next two years. NCA staff has developed quite the expertise in park assessments following on the heels of a 12-park pilot assessment project with the National Park Service and other special projects such as assessment of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. During the June trip, staff focused assessment attention on historic Fort Vancouver along the Columbia River which was once the principal supply depot of the Hudson's Bay Trading Company. Further north, staff assessed the Seattle park unit that interprets the story of the stampede to the Yukon gold fields in 1897.
In California, NCA staff conducted an accessibility assessment of the Eugene O’Neil National Historic Site
, the secluded Northern California home of the Nobel Prize winning playwright. Closer to home, NCA staff also assessed the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
to make recommendations to the park for improving physical and programmatic access for visitors with disabilities.
In July and in commemoration of the 20th anniversary celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Department of Justice issued final regulations revising Title II and III, including the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Published in the Federal Register on September 15, the standards will address enforceable scoping and technical provisions for sports facilities, playgrounds, golf courses, miniature golf facilities, swimming pools and spas, boating and fishing facilities, and amusement rides. Other regulation changes address:
· Ticketing at Performance Venues;
· Service Animals;
· Wheelchairs and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices (such as Segways);
· Effective Communication;
· Residential Housing Offered for Sale to Individual Owners;
· Detention and Correctional Facilities;
· Reservations Made by Places of Lodging;
· Timeshares, Condominium Hotels, and Other Places of Lodging.
NCA Launches Survey on Golf Participation by People with Disabilities and People who are Aging
NCA has launched an online survey among people with disabilities and people who are aging concerning their participation in the game of golf
. A number of important events have occurred in recent years such as the invention or improvement of assistive devices for use in golf; development of ADA guidelines for recreation facilities including golf facilities; and an increase in the number of organizations promoting golf for persons with disabilities. While one might assume that facilitators to pursuing golf have increased and barriers may have decreased, there is a need to determine the level of participation in golf by persons with disabilities, and what helps or hinders one’s interest in pursuing the game. The purpose of this study is to examine why someone does or does not participate in golf. In other words, what encourages or discourages a person with a disability or health condition to play golf. The study is being conducted under the leadership of Drs. Sherril York and Kiboum Kim at the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University, in partnership with the Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation.
NCA’s Ray Bloomer Receives Two Leadership Awards
Ray Bloomer, NCA Director of Education and Technical Assistance, has been presented with two national awards recognizing his leadership in accessibility for people with disabilities. Bloomer was first awarded with the National Park Service Accessibility Leadership Achievement Award. The award 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. The second award, the Award for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership was presented in August by the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts at the national Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference.
Bloomer, an employee of the National Park Service, was duty stationed to the National Center on Accessibility in 1992. During his tenure at NCA, Ray has instructed at over 350 National Park Service and other federal, state and local training courses on accessibility on topics including disability awareness, program and physical access, employment, historic preservation, outdoor recreation interpretation and universal design. During his 35 year career with the National Park Service, he has provided consultation on the Statue of Liberty Restoration, the Smithsonian Institution, exhibit design at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland and New York, and the Cherokee Heritage Center's Trail of Tears exhibit which received an award for Excellence In Media from the National Association for Interpretation. He has also presented guest lectures at Tufts University, George Washington University, Endicott College, Boston University, Northeastern University, Indiana University, and has co-instructed at a Harvard/MIT School of Design accessibility seminar.
Bloomer has served on the U.S. Access Board’s Federal Regulatory Negotiating Committee on Outdoor Developed Areas (December 1997-September 1999) and is currently a member of the National Park Service — Service Wide Accessibility Coordinators Committee as well as the Department of Interior — Disability Rights Committee. He has served as the Co-Chair for the National Museum Task Force funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Bloomer has also served as the subject matter expert for the US Department of Justice settlement agreement with the International Spy Museum. He was a major collaborator on the National Park Service’s Harpers Ferry Center’s recently published “Programmatic Accessibility Guidelines for National Park Service Interpretive Media”.
Looking for a Guest Lecturer?
The NCA professional staff has a broad knowledge base and can provide guest lectures on a range of topics all focused on inclusion of people with disabilities: ADA standards for buildings and recreation environments; ADA regulations for employment, government and business; principles of universal design; program access; and policy modification. Contact NCA Executive Director, Dr. Sherril York (firstname.lastname@example.org
) to request a guest lecturer.
The National Center on Accessibility is a center of Indiana University
’s Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies within the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation
. Since 1992, NCA has played a critical role in increasing awareness of inclusion of people with disabilities in parks, recreation and tourism while advancing the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act and other disability legislation. Through research, technical assistance and training, NCA builds a continuum of comprehensive services for park and recreation practitioners, focusing on universal design and practical solutions that create inclusive recreation opportunities for people of all abilities. NCA is funded in part by the National Park Service