The following is the criteria for looking at accessibility in parks. The categories are not based on any access codes or technical assessments; rather, they were developed for the purpose of this website and are therefore somewhat subjective. Measurements were not taken for trail grade; we relied upon the researchers’ years of experience using ramps.
ACCESSIBLE VISITOR CENTER
- Is reached by an accessible path of travel
- Has level or ramped entry
- Entry door has at least 32″ clearance (typical ramp)
- Identified by the international access symbol and has an adjoining access aisle
- Located on a firm and stable surface
- Is level or on a slope not greater than 2 percent
- Accessible path of travel
- Entry and stall doors have at least 32″ clearance
- Has 5′ x 5′ turnaround space
- Has grab bars on back wall and at least one side
- Has clear space for lateral transfer
- Toilet height is 17″-19″
- Roll-under sink has knee clearance at least 29″ high and 30″ wide
ACCESSIBLE PICNIC TABLE
- Path of travel is firm and stable
- Located on a level, firm, and stable surface
- At least 27″ knee clearance
- Seating is either at end of table or on the sides
ACCESSIBLE FISHING PIER
- Has level access onto the pier and at least a 32”pathway.
- Safety regulations require that railings be 42”, which may limit views and fishing access from a seated position.
- Has an accessible path of travel to the playground.
- Located on a firm and stable surface as approved by the Access Board.
- May or may not have accessible play structures.
The grade of ramps and inclines is measured by a ratio. A typical ramp is 1:12, meaning that the slope rises 1” for every 12” of length. Gentle slopes are less than or equal to 1:12, while steep slopes, by varying degrees, are greater than 1:12. We assigned each trail one of the following classifications:
- Gentle (1:12 or less, manual chair can negotiate)
- Mostly level or gentle (has at least one steep section)
- Steep (> 1:12, power chair and someone with good upper body strength can generally negotiate)
- Very steep (dangerous without assistance)
- Hard: Paved, boardwalk, asphalt, brick
- Firm: Hardened soil, decomposed granite with stabilizer
- Moderately firm: Gravel or dirt mix with firm underlayment. May be problematic for manual wheelchairs but not motorized wheelchairs/scooters.
- Soft: Wood fiber, loose gravel, loose dirt. Problematic for manual wheelchairs and possibly for motorized wheelchairs/scooters.
- Very Soft: Wood fiber, loose gravel, loose dirt. Problematic for manual wheelchairs and possibly for motorized wheelchairs/scooters