Disabled Access to Trails



Trent University Nature Area (green trail), January 2005, by Toby Wells.

Some Links Regarding Accessibility on Trails

The newest "draft" guidelines from the US Forest Service can be found at:
They have draft guidelines for trails and also other outdoor recreation facilities.

The "proposed" guidelines for trails, beaches, picnic areas and camp grounds from the US Access Board can be found at:

Reports on the "best practices" for sidewalks and urban trails were completed by the US Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration:

General Information

Universal trail assessment process: how it works and why it's important

By Kathleen Wong, Beneficial Designs, Inc.American Trails has taken on implementation of the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP),  was developed by Beneficial Designs. This project meets their mission of creating trail systems for ALL Americans. The vision is to provide standardized, objective information about the availability and condition of existing trails to ALL trail users,both with and without disabilities. Information gained from trail assessment will also help develop better trail planning and design guidelines.
Full report  - The newsletter of AMERICAN TRAILS -- NEW YEARS 1998

Access Guides

Disabled Access Guide "A Guide for Persons With Disabilities", Moab, Utah Area
Full Guide Moab Internet - Terry Gibbs and Lisa Perla

Banff's "Free Wheelin" Access Guide Contact the Banff Visitor Information Centre for a copy.


The Access Board - A Federal Agency Committed to Accessible Design - Mission The Access Board is an independent Federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities. It operates with staff and a governing board of representatives from Federal departments and public members appointed by the President. 
Key responsibilities of the Board include: 

  • developing and maintaining accessibility requirements for the built environment, transit vehicles, telecommunications equipment, and for electronic and information technology
  • providing technical assistance and training on these guidelines and standards.
  • enforcing accessibility standards for federally funded facilities 


Visit the Access Board website

Beneficial Designs - Mission
Beneficial Designs works towards universal access through research, design, and education. Thier work is based on the belief that all individuals should have access to the physical, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life. They seek to enhance the quality of life for people of all abilities, and work to achieve this aim by developing and marketing technology for daily living, vocational, and leisure activities. 

Visit the BeneficialDesignswebsite

Eco-Access - Eco-Access Home Page. Eco-Access promotes respect for ourselves, for others and for our environment. It is a non-profit organisation,which exists to ensure access for disabled people to nature. 
Visit Eco-Access.

Disabled Equestrians Organization The Disabled Equestrians Organization represents individuals that are moderately disabled and use a horse or mule to providethem access to trails in the outdoors.
Letter to the Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section wanting interpretation of the Disability Act.

The Enabled RVer - Enabled RVer homepage Access-travel has become popularand familiar to many traveling by air and sea. The RVing community is entering a new area with the special-needs traveler in mind. The Enabled RVer offers a useful list of resources for disabled access within this popular past time.
Visit their website.

Political Aspects

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: Opening the Outdoors To People With Disabilities

 Progress and Projects

Bristish Columbia Mobilty Opportunities Society The Society is charitable, non-profit organization aimed at providing methods of access to the wilderness for people with specific disabilities. To visit their Wilderness Access homepage click here. As part of their projects the development of the Trail rider has emerged. It is avehicle designed to allow access for those with disabilites into the wilderness. For alook at the design click here.

Lower Macleay Entrance Access Improvements have been made to the Lower Macleay entrance to the Park. Added, is the disabled access to the Balch Creek overlook, inspired by memorial funds left in honor of Judy Weinsoft.

Friends of the Forest Park – Our Projects

USDA Forest Service Draft Accessibility Guidelines for Trails Draft Guidelines Released– The Appalachian Trail Conference, 2003– Project The Trail.

         “In early December, the USDA Forest Service released for public review and comment draft guidelines intended to improve opportunities for access by persons with disabilities to trails, campsites, and other recreation facilities on national forest system lands.” The guidelines may be obtained by visiting the Forest Service Accessibility website.

Sasol Sensory Trail Delta environmental Center in Delta Park Johannesburg opened the Sasol Sensory Trail in 1997, a park where the disabled, as well as others can appreciate aspects of nature such as texture, temperature, aroma and shape. History of the development of the trail:

Sasol Sensory Trail online.

Parks Canada Policy


The Government of Canada has developed requirements to ensure that all federal facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities. Those requirements are found in the Treasury Board Real Property Accessibility Policy. The key objective of the policy is “to ensure that persons with disabilities can gain access to, and use, federal real property.” The policy also states that “custodian departments have primary responsibility for ensuring that the real property they administer is accessible to persons with disabilities, and for planning appropriate capital and maintenance programs to ensure implementation of the accessibility policy.”


 “Parks Canada, as the custodian of
Canada’s national parks and national historic sites, is responsible for ensuring that these places are accessible. In 1994, Parks Canada developed design guidelines for accessible outdoor recreational facilities including trails.”

Banff National Park

Jasper National Park

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Last updated by Wesley Found on September 28, 2011 .