In a collaborative effort between the U.S. Access Board, the National Center on Accessibility (NCA), and Oklahoma State University, NCA is seeking to provide qualified professionals, resource specialists and operations staff of parks in the United States with descriptive and or/comparative information about the status of construction practices of pedestrian/hiker, natural surface trails in the United States. This study will provide better insight into the products used on trail surfaces, the firmness and stability of those surfaces, and the frequency of maintenance/repair activities performed.
by Donica Conseen and Nikki Montembeault
In July 2007, the United States Access Board issued the Notice of Proposed Rule Making Guidelines for Federal Outdoor Developed Areas, which in 2009 then became the Draft Final Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas and were made available for comment until December 2009. While these guidelines have not yet reached their final status they are recommended as best practices, and are designed to encourage entities to address accessibility concerns within the realm of the outdoors. The specific outdoor areas that are covered by the Draft Final Outdoor guidelines include: camping facilities, picnic facilities, viewing areas, outdoor recreation access routes, trailheads, trails, and beach access routes. As it pertains to this article, the guidelines provided the parameters for the design and construction of the Shaver’s Creek trail.
School students utilizing the new accessible trail at Shaver's Creek.
When Brian Sedgwick, Building Services Coordinator for Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, first heard the National Center on Accessibility (NCA) was offering training last spring in San Antonio, he was thrilled at the opportunity to attend. Sedgwick’s anticipation to attend an NCA training course was sparked by an upcoming project to design a new accessible trail at Shaver’s Creek. The outdoor center at The Pennsylvania State University provides a variety of educational and recreational opportunities ranging from tours, trails, discovery rooms, a boardwalk and gardens. The center conducts programing for children and the community within the Stone Valley Recreation Area in central Pennsylvania. Going into the training Sedgwick was not only hoping to gain insight on how to best approach the project, but also how he could create awareness of the principles of universal design with the project team and among staff. While attending the training Sedgwick learned that there are many factors which affect the accessibility of a trail. Physical elements such as the firmness and stability of the trail surface were discussed, in addition to programmatic elements such as providing tactile elements along the trail. Tactile elements not only enhance the experience offered but provide a more accessible experience to those visitors with low vision or who are blind, visitors with cognitive impairments, and in the spirit of universal design, children at various levels of development. When Sedgwick returned home, he started examining the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center from an accessibility standpoint in addition to Shaver’s Creek Trail. Recognizing the importance of the principles of universal design, he began to educate both his co-workers and the students he teaches at Penn State on the principles in hopes that they would be put into practice.
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.
This study was originally conducted by the National Center on Accessibility at Bradford Woods between 1997 and 1999.
The purpose of this project is to compare the effectiveness of surface treatments for creating a trail accessible to people with mobility impairments. Specifically, this study is examining the longitudinal effects of surface treatments on surface firmness and stability, the costs of applying the treatments, and their relative maintenance demands.
What is being tested
The trail base contains compacted soil indigenous to central Indiana. The types of surfaces used were Quarter Minus Limestone, #11 limestone (refers to stone size), and indigenous soil. Quarter Minus Limestone is a by-product of crushed limestone in which the limestone fines are no larger than a quarter inch and most fines are dust particles.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation Access to Recreation grant program provided $15 million in funding to 36 recreation projects in four Midwestern states from 2006 to 2009. Projects were selected based on their concepts for embracing universal design, opportunity to facilitate inclusion of people of all abilities and opportunity to serve as an exemplar of universal design to community planners, recreation practitioners and advocates. Over the summer of 2009, the National Center on Accessibility hosted three free 90-minute sessions. The webinars presented an overview of the project concepts, the planning process, design decisions, construction issues, and fundraising. This was an excellent opportunity for professionals seeking the latest information on universal design trends specific to parks and recreation. The series was sponsored by the Michigan Recreation and Park Association Foundation.
Boating & Fishing
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation Access to Recreation grant program provided $15 million in funding to 36 recreation projects in four Midwestern states from 2006 to 2009. Projects were selected based on their concepts for embracing universal design, opportunity to facilitate inclusion of people of all abilities and opportunity to serve as an exemplar of universal design to community planners, recreation practitioners and advocates. Over the summer of 2009, the National Center on Accessibility hosted three free 90-minute sessions. The webinars presented an overview of the project concepts, the planning process, design decisions, construction issues, and fundraising. This was an excellent opportunity for professionals seeking the latest information on universal design trends specific to parks and recreation.
by Terry J. Brown, Rachel Kaplan & Gail Quaderer
Previous accessibility standards such as the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) address the built environment, "the bricks and mortar." These guidelines do not transfer well to the natural environment. The built environment is open to manipulation. For example, if there is a hill where someone wants to build the parking lot for a store, then a bulldozer is used to level the area. In contrast, the natural environment includes factors, such as the weather, that are out of human control. The natural environment is part of the experience people wish to enjoy on a trail.