News

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Access Today: May 2010

Trail Planners and Builders Discuss Outdoor Access at NCA 21st Century Trails Workshop
 
NCA training course participants inspect the trail surfaces installed at Bradford Woods that are part of the NCA research study.Trail planners, builders and coordinators from land management agencies around the country participated in NCA’s 21st Century Trails Workshop last week. The 2-day experiential workshop was held at Bradford Woods amidst some of central Indiana’s most beautiful weather and springtime foliage. Bill Botten, U.S. Access Board, presented an overview of the draft accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas. Patti Longmuir, PEL Consulting, presented sessions on trail construction and considerations to plan universally designed and sustainable trails. Participants commented:
 
“[It was] very beneficial to get ‘hands on’ application practice and go through real world problem solving.”
 
“I now have ideas for both park district situations, museums, historical areas, zoos and nature areas.”
 
“The presentations were great and informative, but the site visits were the most helpful. Being able to physically practice what is preached is invaluable. Even better was to be able to work with staff that used and needed accessible facilities, units, and trails.”
 
The next NCA training program, Accessibility Management in Parks and Recreation, is scheduled for June 22-25 in Portland. 2.4 CEU's.
 
DOJ Sends ADA Revisions to OMB for Final Approval
 
On April 26, the Office of Management and Budget received the Final Rule for revisions to Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act slated to be released by the U.S. Department of Justice. Review by OMB is considered one of the last steps before the final rule can be issued. Typically OMB has 90 days to approve the rule or send it back to the issuing agency with questions or further direction. At the earliest, this could suggest enforceable updates to Title II and III could be released in sync with the 20th anniversary of the ADA in July. DOJ rulemaking revisions to Title II and III date back to 2004. For park and recreation practitioners,

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,

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.

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.

A2R Webinar Archives

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.
 
Playgrounds
 
Boating & Fishing
 
Interpretive Trails

Dave Park Retires from National Park Service

Dave Park, Accessibility Program Coordinator for the National Park Service, retired January 1, 2009 after committing five decades of his career to improving recreation opportunities for people with disabilities. Through various national leadership roles, Dave has brought attention to the need for access to recreation and tourism destinations such as museums, historic sites, and outdoor recreation areas. 
 

Gary Robb to Retire from Indiana University After Successful Career as Advocate for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities

Gary Robb at Muir Woods

I have always believed and felt that whatever contributions that I have made have been mostly because of the people that I have been fortunate to surround myself with. Success, however that is measured, is not due to my brilliance or intelligence, but is due to my ability to get people to believe in me, my passion for my work and in the greater societal outcomes that we will eventually achieve. Nelson Henderson once wrote, "The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit."  I at least feel like that is what I have tried to do. To put it another way (and I don't know who said this)--- You get the best efforts from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within. That is what I believe I have been all about.
-Gary Robb, reflecting on his career
 

After more than three decades as a leader in the fields of therapeutic recreation and accessibility, Gary Robb, Director of the National Center on Accessibility, former Director of Bradford Woods, and Associate Professor at Indiana University, is retiring at the end of May, 2008. His career and “jobs” are best summarized as passionate advocacy for the inclusion of people with disabilities in outdoor recreation. His leadership, nationally and internationally, has resulted in immeasurable contributions to the field of inclusive recreation. Through his work as a camp director, administrator, center founder, researcher and educator, coupled with various roles on national boards and committees, he has created a greater awareness of the need for accessible recreation that has led to an outgrowth of new opportunities for people with disabilities to fully participate and enjoy the benefits of recreation. 

Through his career, he has built Bradford Woods as an international model of outdoor leadership, environmental education and programming for children with disabilities. He is the founding director of the National Center on Accessibility (NCA), one of the premiere resource centers promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in parks and recreation. In addition, he is a founding board member and served as the first president of the National Alliance for Accessible Golf, a collaboration of the golf industry, advocates and golfers with disabilities, striving to make the recreational pursuit more accessible to people with disabilities. Gary has served on both the U.S. Access Board’s Recreation Access Advisory Committee and Regulatory Negotiating Committee on Outdoor Developed Areas. Over the years, he has served as president of the National Therapeutic Recreation Society (NTRS) and trustee to the National Recreation and Park Association. He has received distinguished service awards and citations from NTRS including commendations for NCA and Camp Allen, along with founding and coordinating the International Symposium on Therapeutic Recreation. Gary has edited and written more than 50 textbooks and articles. He has made professional presentations to hundreds of organizations and, in the last 10 years alone, he has directed more than $10 million in contracts and grants.

Gary earned his Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation and a Master of Science in Recreation and Park Administration from the University of Utah. A well-guarded secret, Gary attended Utah on a baseball scholarship, playing left field for the collegiate team. Prior to that, he earned junior college All American mention at the College of Eastern Utah. His batting average his sophomore year was over .600. He was later drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies but decided a job in parks and recreation may be a little more dependable than working his way up to the majors from the Phillies’ farm team. In Salt Lake City, Gary was a recreation therapist and later chief at the Children's Psychiatric Center of the Primary Children's Hospital. In 1970, he began his first stint in teaching as an instructor in the Department of Leisure Studies and Services at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and then as an assistant professor in the Department of Leisure Studies at the University of Illinois. Shortly thereafter, he was named the executive director for Camp Allen in Bedford, New Hampshire.

It wasn’t until 1979 when he was appointed as the executive director of Bradford Woods by Dr Ted Deppe, Chairperson of the Department of Recreation and Park Administration at Indiana University, that Gary was truly able to merge his interests in therapeutic recreation with his love for the outdoors. Nestled on 2,400 acres halfway between Bloomington and Indianapolis, Bradford Woods had been a quiet treasure gifted to Indiana University by John Bradford at the urging of Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. In the late 1950s, Dr. Reynold Carlson of the University's Recreation Department, a pioneer in the outdoor recreation field, began developing this area into an outdoor teaching lab for students in the IU School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Gary was appointed by the Chair to see to it that Bradford Woods grow to its great potential as an outdoor learning lab.

Under Gary’s leadership and over the next three decades, Bradford Woods emerged as an international model in camp programming for children with disabilities and environmental education for elementary age students. Gary worked extensively with the Indianapolis-based Riley Children’s Hospital to make Camp Riley a model of progressive outdoor programming for children with severe and profound disabilities. The Bradford Woods model has been studied internationally and has served as a conceptual foundation for other specialty camps developed throughout the United States. In addition, Gary facilitated the development of programming to utilize the 2,400 acre outdoor center of Indiana University year round for environmental, experiential and challenge education, coupled with service learning, leadership, team building and professional development programming. Thousands of Indiana fifth graders have participated in the residential environmental education program at Bradford Woods. Hoosier parents throughout Indiana proudly send their fifth graders off for the week of environmental education while recalling their own experiences of nature hikes and star gazing.  Full story >>

New E-Course: Introduction to Universal Design

The National Center on Accessibility has developed a one-hour e-course as an introduction to the principles of Universal Design for park and recreation practitioners. The free course is offered through the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands online learning site: www.parktraining.org

Position Opening: Accessibility Specialist / Research Associate

The National Center on Accessibility, Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies in the School of HPER, is seeking an Accessibility Specialist. The individual selected will be part of a professional team that conducts accessibility research, provides technical assistance and conducts training on accessibility and people with disabilities in parks, recreation and tourism venues. The individual selected will be responsible for development of NCA’s accessibility plan review program (architectural/landscape) and in working with other staff in the development of NCA’s emerging Global Information Systems programs and geo data bases. Qualifications: Completed master's degree in landscape architecture, recreation or natural resources related field, and at least one year experience in community level accessibility work. Experience in working with people who have disabilities is highly desirable.