Final Guidelines for Federal Outdoor Recreation Sites Go In Effect November 2013

person in wheelchair with family at the beachOn September 26, 2013, the U.S. Access Board issued new accessibility guidelines for outdoor areas developed by the federal government. Paralyzed Veterans of America's Architecture and Advocacy staff were members of the Regulatory Negotiation committee that developed the report underlying the guidelines. 

Requirements for trails, outdoor recreation access routes, and beach access routes address surface characteristics, width, and running and cross slopes are specified. Exceptions are included for these and other provisions under certain conditions stipulated in the guidelines. Departures are allowed where compliance is not practicable because of terrain or prevailing construction practices. Exceptions are also recognized where compliance would conflict with mandates such as the Endangered Species Act and other laws or where it would fundamentally alter a site’s function or purpose.

The rule becomes mandatory on November 25, 2013, for federal sites only as part of the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards, which apply to facilities that are built, altered, or leased with federal funds.  The Board plans to follow-up with rulemaking to address non-federal sites under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at a later date. 

The rule can be viewed at this link.

The Board will conduct a public webinar on the new rule on October 17 from 2:30 to 4:00 (ET). To register for this free webinar, visit www.accessibilityonline.org.

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    Final Guidelines for Federal Outdoor Recreation Sites Go In Effect November 2013