The Accessibility Toolkit for Land Managers is an informative document meant to help land managers design and maintain with equity and inclusion as a priority.
The toolkit dives into what equity and access look like, who we’re talking about with examples of demographics, commonly used equipment, and desired recreation. We discuss shifting the lens and give tips to think creatively about accessibility in projects. It calls out some of the most common barriers for those with physical disabilities and solutions that require simple adjustments to practices. Quick tips with dimensions and examples are included along with resources and ways of connecting with the community for further inclusion work.
By thinking creatively and experientially, land managers can move past ADA compliance and into an equity-centered approach that provides a truly diverse range of access for all sorts of people. Inclusion is more than a short paved trail in a park—it’s about creating options for diverse experiences that people of all abilities can enjoy.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed to make public spaces more accessible to people with disabilities at a time when people were barely getting out of their houses. Through the protection afforded by the ADA, people are more empowered than ever to get out and participate in all the same activities non-disabled people do.
As important as it is though, the ADA is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making the outdoors inclusive for the full spectrum of people within the disabilities communities. People of all abilities mountain bike, road bike, climb, hike, kayak, hunt, fish, and explore like a majority of outdoor lovers. They too seek a variety of outdoor challenges, with opportunities to leisurely move through old-growth forests or completely exhaust themselves after a strenuous hike or bike ride.
We all seek the same adventure, freedom, and thrill of the outdoors.