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Accessible trail routes to beaches and waterfronts

Commentary by Stuart Macdonald


Making beaches and waterfronts accessible to people with disabilities. Cliffs, rocks, sand, and other unstable surfaces are the typical challenges in providing better access to water attractions. A variety of solutions have been used to improve the surface and provide barrier-free routes. At some point, however, the visitor is going to be in the water, or on an expanse of sand or mud at low tide. Other times the access may reach an overlook closer to the water but with other obstacles such as a drop-off or rocks. These examples show ways of bringing people closer to the water in beach and bay-front situations. Various types of boardwalks and paving are used to enable access by people using wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers. Federal accessibility guidelines call these outdoor recreation access routes (ORARs). See more on guidelines for beach access routes and accessible trails.

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