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Minutes by Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, Washington DC


  • American Society of Landscape Architects
  • American Trails
  • Appalachian Trail Conference
  • Association for Blind Athletes
  • Hawaii Commission on Persons with Disabilities
  • KOA, Inc.
  • National Association of State Park Directors
  • National Association of State Trail Administrators
  • National Center on Accessibility
  • National Recreation and Park Association
  • National Spinal Cord Injury Association
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation *
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • Partners for Access to the Woods
  • State of Washington, Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation *
  • TASH
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
  • U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
  • Whole Access
  • Access Board Member

*Alternate Member


  • Rails to Trails Conservancy
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • American Camping Association


  • David Alperin, Access Board Staff
  • Paul Beatty, Access Board Staff
  • Kay Ellis, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Peggy Greenwell , DFO
  • Gary Hattal, FMCS
  • Patti Longmuir, American Trails, Alternate
  • Barbara McMillen, U.S. DOT, FHWA, Alternate
  • David Startzell, Appalachian Trail Conference, Alternate
  • Peter Swanson, FMCS
  • Maureen McCloskey, PVA, Alternate


  • Terry Cummings, American Hiking Society
  • Mike Passo, Wilderness Inquiry
  • Susan Spain, National Park Service/DSC
  • Roger Schmidt, Bureau of Land Management
  • Sandra Cauthron, Arizona PVA
  • Doug Troutman, Bureau of Land Management
  • Janet Zellar, U S Forest Service
  • Cindy Casanova, Metro-Dade County Park and Recreation Department
  • Lucy Burback, Metro-Dade County Park and Recreation Department


The meeting was convened at 8:45 a.m. Cindy Cassanova, Recreation Supervisor with the Metro-Dade Parks and Recreation Department welcomed the committee. Metro-Dade Parks and Recreation Department hosted the meeting held at the Botanical Gardens. Diana Richardson, Director of ADA Coordination for Metro-Dade, also welcomed the committee. Her office was responsible for assisting other meeting logistics such as transportation to the meeting site and a field trip on Wednesday afternoon.

Pete Swanson reviewed the process and goals of the regulatory negotiation committee. He also reviewed the tasks completed during the Colorado meeting related to the scoping provisions for newly constructed trails. He also reviewed the agenda and plan for the following three days, which included the presentation of two new proposals from committee members related to trail scoping.

Peggy Greenwell, designated Federal official, reviewed the meeting packet. She also announced that Wilderness Inquiry, Inc. would be assisting the Access Board with the cost analysis of the proposed accessibility guidelines. The cost analysis is a part of the regulatory assessment that will be developed by the Board on the proposed accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas.

Pete Swanson reviewed the unapproved October meeting minutes. Changes were made in the following areas to the minutes.

Page 1 - front country and back country trail definition modified as follows; Front country trail. A front country recreational trail is a pedestrian trail or shared use path not meeting the definition of a back country trail. Back country trail. A back country recreational trail is a pedestrian trail which extends beyond a 3 mile radius from a designated trail head and/or is solely designed to provide access to longer distance trails, remote areas, or rugged terrain.

A discussion followed about some of the numbers and slope percentages used in the technical provisions included of attachment 1 of the October meeting minutes. Some committee members expressed concern that this information was different from what they understood at the conclusion of their work at this meeting. Since these provisions were to be under significant discussion during this meeting, no official changes were made to the numbers.

Based on these changes and notes, the meeting minutes were approved, without the attachment.

Peggy Greenwell provided a summary of comments received from committee members concerning the work developed during the October meeting. Comments to the scoping and technical provisions for the October meeting were received from all but four committee members. The majority of the comments related to the trail definitions and scoping provisions.

Many concerns were raised regarding the trail definitions. Some believed that the "shared-use" and "front country" were too broad and suggested alternatives for narrowing their scope. Many felt that the 3-mile radius was not an appropriate indicator for "back country" trails. Others were concerned with the lack of "setting" as a consideration within the defiintions.

A large number of committee members believed that the scoping level was too high for trails, especially, "shared-use" trails. There was concern that terrain and other constraints were not adequately considered. Several individuals suggested lower percentages to be used.

Some general notes of the review of the "other scoping provisions" follow.

  • requirements for access to all prominent features on a site were not realistic
  • confusion over the recommendation for a 28" width on trails not required to be accessible
  • long distance trails should be treated differently
  • relocating accessible trail portions may not always be possible
  • "reconstruction" needs to be clearly defined
  • trail heads and trail access points need to be clearly defined

Comments on the technical provisions

  • Surface - concern about the need for "stable"
  • Width - confusion between tread width and trail width
  • Openings - need to maintain 1/2" with no exception
  • Protruding Objects - equestrian trails need 10' clearance
  • Changes in Level - language in provision confusing
  • Passing Space - concerns about the 500' distance being too great
  • Running Slope - question the significance of averaging, need to base exception on trail type, maximums too high
  • Resting Space - should only be required at the top of the trail
  • Cross Slope - maximums too high
  • Edge Protection - may be a tripping hazard

At this time, Peggy Greenwell reviewed some options for the committee should they not be able to reach consensus on some of the issues before them. In these circumstances, the committee could submit non-consensus material in the form of recommendations as a part of their report. There may be issues that do not get addressed due to time constraints.

Jim Bedwell and Ruth Doyle presented another proposal for addressing scoping and technical provisions for trails. Their proposal is based on the work from a proposal developed in the August 1998 meeting in Albuquerque, NM. They also tried to combine some parts of each of the different approaches discussed to date within the committee.

The basic principles of their proposal follow (see attachment 1).

Alternative Proposal E - E Prime

Some of the basic concepts included in this proposal are:

  • Use of the term "recreation area"
  • Incorporating the use of different settings and defined areas
  • Incorporating the use of outdoor recreation access routes
  • Deleting the trail definitions (shared-use, front country, and back country)
  • Incorporating challenge level (instead of exceptions which tend to have a negative effect) and the number of trails /size of area
  • Considering the range of experience

Phyllis Cangemi presented another proposal (see attachment 2). This proposal is based on the proposal from the more recent committee meeting in October. The overarching goal is of the proposal is to begin with accessibility. Other important differences between this proposal and the previous work are as follows:

  • Assumes access
  • Added two new definitions - wheelchair related
  • Uses 5 miles instead of 3 miles in the definition of "back country"
  • Includes a definition of a "firm" surface
  • Includes wheelchair related provisions
  • 100% scoping with exceptions
  • Requires designers to do what can be done
  • In some cases, the rule will be the less stringent and exception would be the higher requirement
  • Balances a variety of conditions - includes options to "mitigate" circumstances
  • Scoping - 100% with exceptions
  • In some circumstances only certain technical provisions apply

The afternoon session began with a review of the two new proposals presented along with the work from the October meeting.

A summary of the main points of Phyllis's proposal follow:

  • Assumes access - no formulas, gets away from all or none
  • 100% does not always result in 100%
  • Responds to conditions that protect the resource
  • Provides methodical process for mitigating in accessibility - alternate approaches to use
  • Connects exceptions
  • Provides "wiggle room" for resource protection while mandating accountability
  • Creates flexibility
  • Exception can go up or down as less or more stringent
  • Compatible with environmental planing process

A summary of Ruth and Jim proposal follows:

  • Settings reflect realities of land and provide choice of opportunity for diverse users
  • Provides levels of access/challenge
  • ORAR is separated from recreation trail

The main points of the previous proposal from the October meeting in Empire, Colorado include:

  • Defining three types of trails;
  • Scoping differences per trail type; and,
  • Using one set of technical provisions with exceptions.

A brainstorming session followed. Committee identified other possible concepts or approaches to be considered as scoping provisions for trails.

  • Identify the type of area, instead of trail types
  • Use the type of area and different conditions as indicators
  • Requiring that information be provided to users when there is a departure from the technical provisions on trails
  • Use short relocations - exceptions for certain conditions to allow for a trail to be installed quickly without trying to comply
  • Allow for a 50 ft. relocation option
  • Further define "alterations" and when there is a trigger for alterations
  • Keep it simple
  • Further define when you can depart from the technical provisions
  • Consider the type of construction used to develop the trail: four types of hand, power tools, mechanized, or something else
  • Focus on the trail head and have regulation go from there/change from trail type to human
  • Reconsider the approach of using the trail surface as the trigger for scoping provisions
  • Develop definitions that are a combination and consider every characteristic, including surfacing
  • Improve the definition of the trail type
  • Provide clear examples of what is new construction what is an alteration
  • Consider a signage requirement for all trails
  • Allow for portions of trails to be relocated
  • Maintain specific purpose of the trail for a variety of opportunities

At this time the committee discussed which proposal they could work with and to identify the parts of each that they wanted to use. Many concerns were raised about each proposal. These included: refining the settings identified in Alternate E prime; dealing with alterations; clearly identifying the environmental triggers;, and using the simplicity of Phyllis's proposal. Further discussion continued on ways to incorporate the strengths of both proposals.

A work group was developed to address the following issues to combine into a new approach:

  1. Developing a list of criteria which allow for exceptions
  2. Dealing with alterations
  3. Creating an exception for application of guidelines under a certain length
  4. Scoping for corridor trails
  5. Requirements for a minimum number of miles required to be accessible
  6. Addressing the public perception concern of requiring 100% scoping
  7. Tighten provisions to leave less room for potential abuse
  8. Delete provisions for requiring the level of access
  9. Keeping it simple
  10. Not basing scoping on existing trails
  11. Avoid making provisions overly prescriptive
  12. Consider range, quality, and diversity of trail experience

A work group including Kim Beasley, Peter Axelson, Cindy Burkhour, Christopher Douwes, Ruth Doyle, Phyllis Cangemi, and Peggy Greenwell was established to meet in the evening to further refine the approach.


Sandra Cauthron - Arizona PVA - She expressed concern about user groups and had not heard a discussion about the stakeholders, other than wheelchair users. She developed a video tape for committee members that shows the experience of individuals using other adapted equipment when traversing the various slopes being developed by the committee.

Maureen McCloskey - PVA/Alternate - She wants to make sure that accessibility is another factor considered by architects and planners when designing new trails. Structurally impracticability will be addressed in the exceptions, with the requirement to do the next best thing.

Dave Startzall - Appalachian Trail Conference/Alternate - He expressed concerns about the three trail definitions and that the scoping provisions did not recognize the different settings. Some of the provisions may ignore the real limitation of human resources. In some situations, you cannot meet these provisions.

Terri Cummings - American Hiking Society - He endorses the Alternative E approach. He also believes there is a need for another level of technical specifications that goes beyond wheelchairs and the need to define alterations.

Susan Spain - National Parks Service - She is comfortable with the "to the maximum extent feasible approach". She believes that clearly defined exceptions, triggered by constraints are necessary. There is also a need to define "routine maintenance" and the definition of a trail.

Doug Cogwin - He would like to a see a clear and concise approach of what is maintenance, and what is an alteration. Without this information, it will be difficult to provide adequate guidance to those in the field.

Janet Zellar - U.S. Forest Service - She stressed the importance in maintaining choice for all users when talking about trails.

***The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, January 20, 1999

The meeting was convened at 8:30 a.m. The work group charged with further addressing concerns from the previous day presented their findings. Ruth Doyle briefed the full committee on the work group discussion that led to the new proposal. After discussing how and when access is triggered, they began to consider the concept of using the "settings" as an option for departure with the technical provisions. Attempts were also made to streamline the approach and not rely on quotas.

The following proposal was presented.

Scoping Provisions for Trails

I. All newly constructed trails or trail segments shall meet the following technical provisions. Departures from the technical provisions are permitted where the following conditions or circumstances exist:

Environmental Constraints

  • negative impact on the environment (width of impact, corridors, etc.)
  • sensitivity to disturbance (e.g., roots, trampling, plant characteristics)
  • impact of animals on natural vegetation or impact of trail use on wild animals in the area
  • plant environmental impact area (e.g., not just tree, but also the area which would impact the tree roots)
  • Preservation Constraints
  • -- protection of endangered or rare species
  • -- archeological, historic or heritage resource protection
  • religious sites (e.g. Native American burial grounds, Native Hawaiian religious sites)
  • preservation of the recreation experience

Construction Constraints

  • compatibility of existing soils/terrain with proposed construction method
  • aquatic features, flood plain, ground water, periodic floodings
  • conflicting construction requirements
  • natural features which cannot be avoided (cannot go around) and cannot be relocated
  • indigenous soil type and stability (e.g., susceptibility to erosion)
  • topography (steep versus flat terrain), slope (range or trigger point)
  • trail segments which are "in the middle of nowhere"

II. General exception: The technical provisions do not apply to newly constructed trails where site infeasibility and structural impracticability prevail.


1. How to address the trail segments that are altered in the "middle of nowhere".

2. Concerns about legal constraints (i.e. deed restrictions)

3. How to address situations where there has been significant departures from the technical provisions and it may not make sense to follow any of the remaining technical provisions.


1. A trail would be considered "accessible", even if you depart and use the "exceptions". There is also an option to depart from the provisions if you are dealing with "site infeasibility". Because of this, there is the concern that at some point a trail should not be considered "accessible". Further development of this concept could lead to a prioritizing of features that are critical to providing access for MOST people with disabilities.

2. Requiring trail signage that would identify the characteristics of the trail was discussed as a way to address those trails where certain provisions were not meet. This was not fully discussed, but considered as an option.

Further discussion revealed general support for this approach provided that certain issues were addressed.

  • A definition of "trail" is needed
  • "where it can be demonstrated that" needs to be incorporated into the conditions
  • Need to refine what is meant by "recreation experience"
  • Need to tighten up the conditions for departures
  • Ensure that the departure is only per specific technical provision
  • Concern about DOT funded paths and ensuring that they will have too many loopholes

A work group was established to work on the "conditions" for departing from the technical provisions and a work group to work on the "technical provisions".


Francine provided a brief review of the beach proposal regarding the proposal from the beach. The proposal distinguishes between newly constructed beaches or man-made beaches and natural beaches. It also bases the trigger for an accessible beach route when pedestrian routes are provided. The accessible beach route may be permanent or temporary.


Roger Schmidt - Bureau of Land Management - He explained that there is limited money to allot to trails and encouraged the group to focus on what were the important issues. He endorseS the current direction of the group and encouraged them to keep it simple.

At this time, the committee and public members departed for a field trip to several beaches in the Miami Beach area for the remainder of the afternoon.


The meeting was convened at 8:45 a.m. Diana Richardson - ADA coordinator of Metro Dade provided an overview of the beach access issues. She also discussed several of the beaches visited by the committee on the previous day and identified the following issues regarding beach access for the committee.

  • Parking and path of travel from the parking areas
  • Routes over natural or artificial dunes
  • Number of accessible routes to be provided
  • Width and edge protection on the routes
  • Erosion problems
  • Tidal and/or seasonal fluctuations
  • Access into the water
  • Cabanas - how many need to be accessible, some with two stories
  • Picnic areas on the beach
  • Access to rental areas (jet skis, kayaks, lounge chairs, etc.)
  • Type of sand and level of compaction
  • Access to shore at destination platforms
  • Outdoor showers

Francine Wai responded to questions and concerns regarding the proposal put forward by the work group. Concerns raised included:

  • limiting the definition to beaches with "swimming"
  • exempting all beach replenishment activities
  • need to better define access requirements from public entry points
  • better define what is considered "to the water's edge" - include "normal recreation pool", and mean high tide mark as indicators. Address both tidal and non-tidal areas
  • ensure that a "temporary" route can be an option
  • address "site infeasibility"
  • further discuss edge protection on route
  • further discuss the width of the route

At this time, the committee continued meeting in work groups, with a progress report from each.

Jim Bedwell reported on the work group on "conditions for departure". He mentioned that they did not get to the "to be resolved list".

Refined Scoping Provision for Trails

Newly constructed trails or trail segments shall meet the following technical provisions. Departure from the specific provisions is permitted where it can be demonstrated that compliance with the provision would cause substantial harm to:

  • Significant natural, cultural, historic or religious characteristics of a site
  • Alter the fundamental experience of the setting or intended purpose of the trail
  • Require construction methods that are prohibited by fed, state, and local regulations
  • Where the characteristics of the terrain (e.g. slope, soils, geological or aquatic prevent the compliance with the technical provision

Syd Jacobs reported on the findings on the work group charged with developing technical provisions for outdoor recreation access routes.

Outdoor Recreation Access Routes

Definition: Paths that connect the primary accessible elements that are basic to the recreation experience. Excludes accessible elements along a trail. (scoping is the same as trails)

Technical provisions:

  • Clear tread width - 36", exception 32" for 24"
  • Sustained running grade - 1:20 5% /exception 1:12 8% no handrails
  • Max grade - distance - 8% 50' 10% - 30"
  • Cross Slope - 3% exception 5% only as conditions including drainage
  • Passing Space - if 36", 200 exception as soon as possible, not mor than 300'
  • Level change - 1-2" beveled, +2" then
  • Surface - firm and stable

Rest areas on the route - recommend - 400', 900', and 1200'


Dave Startzell - Appalachian Trail Conference - He encouraged those who have concerns about the "wiggle room" to fully consider the implications. Even though there is no requirement for documentation, many planners will keep track of their decisions. He wants to be make sure that the guidelines are broad and also inclusive and is concerned that the cost may outweigh the benefits.

Janet Zellar - U.S. Forest Service - She expressed concern that the outdoor access route, connecting the key elements on a site had not been dealt with. She encouraged the group to make this work a priority.

Patti Longmuir - She wants to make sure the group considers the maintenance factor when setting standards. Some elements may be difficult to maintain to the standard.

Bill Von Korff - Redd Team, Inc. - His company provides manufactured access ramps, steps, and walkways.

***The meeting was adjourned at 5:00. Several work groups continued to meet during the evening to complete their tasks.


The meeting was convened at 8:30 a.m. A discussion followed about the transportation and distance between the meeting site and lodging. PVA was offered as a potential site for the April meeting. Staff were directed to select a meeting site with lodging in close proximity for the April meeting.

Francine reported on the new definition for beaches and a new scoping provision based on the committee discussion on the previous day.

Definition of a Beach

Designated beach area at the shore of a body of water providing pedestrian entry for the purposes of water play, swimming, or other water shoreline related activities.

Scoping Exception

An accessible beach route is not required if another accessible beach route exists within a _ mile.(as long as it is within the beach of the same jurisdiction).

A report from the technical committee followed and was discussed. This material has been included in the attachment 3. Committee members reached conceptual consensus on the material in the attachment 3.

Maureen McCloskey presented on some new scoping provisions. These were developed by a work group to refine the scoping provisions and exceptions of the new proposal.

1. Option A - The trail/segment is located such that the cost and scope of building a connecting route to an accessible trail or trail head is disproportionate to the cost. (20%)

Option B - The trail segment is not connected to an accessible trail or trail head

2. The trail segment cannot comply with technical provision (T.1 - T.11), due to departure conditions above (i.e. protruding objects) running slope, (agreed to conceptually).

They did not reach agreement on this issue and discussed the need for legal discussions on the deed restrictions.

Accessible Exterior Surfaces Research Project

Peter Axelson reported on some of the results of the Accessible Exterior Surfaces Research project. Statistics on wheelchair work per meter test sessions for a variety of surfaces were provided. Comparisons of surfaces in relation to energy consumption were also included. He announced that a meeting is to be held on March 18 - 20, 1999 at Beneficial Designs. The purpose of the meeting is to gather all those entities and organizations engaged with surface research to discuss options for standardizing testing procedures to increase their subject pool and provide additional data.

To be resolved

It was decided that several work group would further examine the issues. These include:

1. Issues related to activities considered alterations or maintenance. - Group: Terry Cummings, Ruth Doyle, Jim Bedwell, Peter Jensen, Maureen McCloskey, Kim Beasley

2. A editorial work group to work on the final report. - Group: Syd Jacobs, Ruth Doyle, Christopher Douwes, and Pat Hittmeir

3. A work group to develop a section on the background on the development of the different approaches.- Group: Joan, Rory Calhoun, Christopher Douwes

4. A work group to discuss a trail information requirement. - Group: Peter Axelson, Cindy Burkhour, and Rory Calhoun

5. Conditions work group to further discuss remaining issues and options. - Group: Cindy Burkhour, Peter Axelson, Rick Fenton, Maureen McCloskey, Jim Bedwell, and Marilyn Golden

6. Beaches work group - Group: Francine Wai, Ray Bloomer, Rory Calhoun, Dave Park

***No Public comment was received. The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20004-1111 202-272-5434 (Voice) 202-272-5449 (TTY) 202-272-5447 (Fax) (E-Mail) (Website)

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