I recently was made aware of the differences between AB Proposed Guidelines and FSTAG/FSORAG. There needs to be some exceptions. If we have a historic site/area or one that has been designed on an inherently inaccessible area, exceptions need to be made to preserve the nature of these places. Revisions to structures, buildings, bridges, platforms, facilities, should adhere to the Architectural barriers act and the ADA. If we build it, it should be made up to standards, but we should not alter it to be made accessible if it will alter the integrity of the site or nature of the area.
We seek out trails and “inaccessible” places due to their rugged, remote nature. I do not want to see places altered to change the character nor do I feel the majority of people who would benefit would want this. We must make users aware of the characteristics of trails if they meet the guidelines of accessibility but not use the ISA in these places as many users will not know the difference being in a primitive area.
I feel that the work of the AMC in the White Mountains of NH is a step in the right direction. They are renovating their huts to be ADA compliant even though they are off “inaccessible” trails. Do not change the trails because the building is made accessible. We seek out these places for the challenge of the natural environment but then, like as all users, enjoy the journey in the woods in it’s unaltered state.
David Lee, MS, CTRS
Assistant Director – Program Operations Northeast Passage