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Facility Access

Recreation Access



Interpretation Letters


Primary Documents

Recreation Standards Currently, these final guidelines are not yet part of DOJ’s enforceable standard. However, people may wish to consult the guidelines in the interim since the current enforceable standard does not specifically address the types of recreation facilities covered. (The absence of specific provisions in the current standards does not mean that recreation facilities or play areas are exempt from the provision of access; rather, it means that these facilities and areas are not held to a specific level of access under the current standard).

Outdoor Developed Areas: Final Report The Access Board is developing new guidelines covering access to trails, beaches, and picnic and camping areas. The guidelines will supplement those the Board has issued for the built environment and will address unique constraints specific to outdoor developed areas. The guidelines will be developed based on the above recommendations the Access Board received from the Outdoor Developed Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee.

Other Recreation Access Documents

Play Areas The guidelines cover the number of play components required to be accessible, accessible surfacing in play areas, ramp access and transfer system access to elevated structures, and access to soft contained play structures. The guidelines address play areas provided at schools, parks, child care facilities (except those based in the operator’s home, which are exempt), and other facilities. However, the guidelines have not been adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice; therefore, they are not enforceable at this time.

Amusement Rides The guidelines address access to amusement rides for persons with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. Specifications require provision of either a wheelchair space on the ride or a ride seat or device designed for transfer to the ride. The guidelines also address access at loading and unloading areas and provide specific criteria for wheelchair spaces, ride seats designed for transfer, and transfer devices.

Boating Facilities Boating facilities, such as piers and docks provided at marinas to serve recreational vessels, are covered by the guidelines. The dynamic interface between land and water presents unique and significant challenges in providing access to floating facilities. Criteria for gangways connecting floating facilities take these constraints into account. The guidelines apply ADAAG requirements for accessible routes and ramps, but provide exceptions to criteria for maximum rise and slope, handrail extensions, and level landings.

Fishing Piers and Platforms This section addresses railings and edge protection on fishing piers and platforms. Railings, guardrails, and handrails are not required by the guidelines. However, where they are provided, a portion (at least 25%) cannot be more than 34 inches high so that the railings do not obstruct fishing for people using wheelchairs. An exception permits the use of a guard complying with the International Building Code where required by other authorities.

Miniature Golf Courses The guidelines address miniature golf courses and require at least half of the holes to be served by an accessible route. Specifications for accessible routes take into account design conventions for miniature golf courses, such as carpeted surfaces and curbs. All level areas of an accessible hole where a ball may come to rest must be within the reach of golf clubs (36 inches) from accessible routes.

Golf Courses The guidelines recognize that access to golf courses is typically achieved through the use of golf cars. Golf car passages are permitted in lieu of accessible routes throughout golf courses. To comply, courses must be designed so that golf cars can access teeing grounds and putting greens. Modified accessible routes are required to serve practice putting greens and driving ranges since they often are not located within the boundary of a course.

Sports Facilities Provisions for exercise equipment, bowling lanes, and shooting facilities are included in the guidelines. The guidelines do not affect the design of exercise equipment and machines, but instead require one of each type to be on an accessible route and to provide transfer space for persons using wheelchairs. Access is also required to a portion (at least 5%) of bowling lanes and shooting facilities.

Swimming Pools & Spas The guidelines address access to swimming pools, wading pools, and spas. Specifications are provided for various means of providing pool access, including pool lifts, sloped entries, transfer walls, transfer systems, and stairs. Access to swimming pools can be achieved by sloped entries or pool lifts. For larger pools (those with 300 or more linear feet of pool wall), a secondary means of access is required. Stairs, transfer systems, or transfer walls can be used instead of lifts or sloped entries for this secondary means of access.

Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines and Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines The USDA Forest Service accessibility guidelines are being developed to provide guidance for the agency to maximize accessibility while at the same time recognizing and protecting the unique characteristics of the natural setting of outdoor developed recreation areas and pedestrian trails. These guidelines will apply only to new or reconstructed facilities and areas.

What is an Accessible Trail Currently; The Access Board is preparing a Notice of Proposed Rule based on the Regulatory Negotiation Committee's report. During the process of the guidelines being issued and adopted, facilities need to use the "best available information." For outdoor environments, the current best available information is the Outdoor Developed Areas Final Report. The remainder of this technical assistance paper from the National Center on Accessibility will draw from the Regulatory Negotiation Committee's Final Report: Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines-Outdoor Developed Areas (September 1999).

Trail Surfaces: What Do I Need to Know Now the US Access Board appointed the Regulatory Negotiation Committee to develop recommendations for accessibility to Outdoor Developed Areas. Until final guidelines are approved, the report generated by the work of this Committee provides the best information available for making trails accessible. Understanding and following accessibility guidelines will provide increased trail opportunities and experiences for a broader spectrum of visitors with varying abilities. This monograph from the National Center on Accessibility is based on the above report.

Campground Accessibility Issues and Recommendations Federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Architectural Barriers Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, require facilities to be accessible to people with disabilities. When the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) were released in 1991, outdoor recreation environments were not specifically addressed. The United States Access Board is now developing accessibility guidelines for various recreation environments, including Outdoor Developed Areas. The National Center on Accessibility has based this monograph on the Final Report for Outdoor Developed Areas.

Accessible Picnic Tables Requirements and Recommendations The guidance set forth in this tech sheet is based on the recommendations of the U.S. Access Board's Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Outdoor Developed Areas Report (September 1999) and research by the National Center on Accessibility

Providing Access to Beaches Due to the dynamic nature of shorelines, the surface of beaches is generally not firm and stable and therefore may not be accessible. This monograph from the National Center on Accessibility addresses this and other issues involving access to beaches for people with disabilities.

Golf: Movement Toward Full Inclusion of People with Disabilities This monograph from the National Center on Accessibility will discuss the issues facing inclusion of people with disabilities within the game of golf, recently released accessibility guidelines for golf courses, policy issues, new initiatives encouraging participation of people with disabilities in golf, and resources for golfers with disabilities and golf.

III-5.3000 Application of ADAAG

“What if ADAAG has no standards for a particular type of facility?”

II-6.2000 Choice of design standard: UFAS or ADAAG

“What if neither ADAAG nor UFAS contain specific standards for a particular type of facility?”

Related Websites

Access Board

National Center on Accessibility

National Center on Physical Activity & Disability

U.S. Forest Service

Related Web Sites

Access Board

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