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Accessible trails and greenways
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The Americans with Disabilities Act and Trails

New: Public comment needed on potential conflicts between federal accessibility guidelines ending October 18th

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in the Federal Register for public comment.

Questions & answers on ADA trails accessibility

How does Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) affect trails and greenways? Though specific regulations are not in place, ADA requires us to address the accessibility of trails in addition to buildings and programs. A Regulatory Negotiation Committee (RegNeg) has developed a final report of proposed rules for trails and outdoor recreation facilities under the authority of the Access Board in Washington, DC.The Access Board has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for public comment on the proposed guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas, including trails. See current news on the status of the proposal. Additional regulations are being written for pedestrian access routes in public rights-of-way. Also underway are proposed Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines for certain federal lands. See comparison of the proposed trail guidelines (FSTAG) with draft ADA guidelines (RegNeg).

photo of wheelchair user on trail
Wheelchair accessible trail

During 2001-02 a cost-benefit analysis on the proposal, was being prepared for the federal Office of Management & Budget.

In 2003 trail groups worked with the Forest Service on accessible trails regulations

Comprehensive discussion of the proposal by John McGovern: A Work in Progress: Accessible Trails, Campsites, and Other Outdoor Recreation Areas

Details of the Pocess: Negotiators address trails for Americans with Disabilities Act

1999 proposed guidelines

Report on Recommendations by the Regulatory Negotiation Committee, September 1999, is the final report of the Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas. It proposes ADA Accessibility Guidelines for trails, outdoor recreational access routes, beach access routes, and picnic and camping facilities and is available online.
  1. Discussion of proposed trail development regulations to comply with ADA
  2. Discussion of when and how to apply proposed trail development regulations
  3. Proposed technical specifications for new and reconstructed trails to comply with ADA
  4. Discussion of proposed specifications for picnic and camping areas to comply with ADA
  5. Discussion of proposed specifications for beach access routes to comply with ADA

Universal Trail Assessment Process classes and resources offered

New: Accessible Trails Workshop: Understanding Accessibility and Building Better Trails

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