The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that we provide recreation facilities that are accessible to all people, including those with disabilities. However, it can be daunting to understand and then implement the extensive laws and standards that govern ADA compliance.
A consistent approach to evaluating your recreation facilities for ADA compliance is a great first step toward an inclusive and compliance recreation program. We suggest the use of a standard ADA compliance checklist to ensure your existing facilities meet your ADA goals.
Such a checklist might include:
- Accessible Routes: parking and drop off areas, accessible routes from parking to recreation, restroom facilities, and trails.
- Site Amenities: drinking fountains, seating, interpretive signage, fire rings, cooking grills, trash receptacles, and playgrounds.
- Recreation Facilities: boating facilities, campgrounds, picnic facilities, beaches, fishing piers or platforms, aquatic recreation facilities, overlooks, and shooting facilities.
- Restroom Facilities: details such as, where the signs are mounted, grab bars, sink and mirror heights, door widths, door handle types, tactile signage, stall widths, soap dispenser and hand dryer heights and use.
If you develop a standard checklist, you should review Federal guidelines annually as they are updated and modified to reflect current regulations and provide additional direction for compliance of your recreation facility. The Department of Justice provides annual updates to the Federal guidelines using the following link. www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/recreation-facilities/outdoor-developed-areas/final-guidelines-for-outdoor-developed-areas/text-of-the-guidelines
No matter how complicated or large a system you may have, following these guidelines is an achievable goal. As an agency, developing a checklist based on your facilites in your system is a good starting point to meeting that goal. You’ll want to be consistent in your evaluations to ensure that you provide equal service for all recreation users. So ask yourself, “Is my recreation facility compliant based on current standards?” If the answer is no, it’s time to build your checklist.