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Accessible recreation: Places where we can all have fun

Whether you love swimming, skiing, hiking, fishing, or just playing at the park, recreational activities are a part of healthy living. This is why it is so important for parks and recreational facilities to incorporate universal design and accessible equipment to ensure people of all abilities can join in the fun. A variety of tools and innovations are helping to make this possible.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Ramps and lifts can make swimming pools accessible for people with disabilities by allowing them to enter the water with a minimum amount of assistance.
  • Summer beachgoers with disabilities can access both sand and surf through beach access routes, which offer continuous, unobstructed pathways to both sand and water. In addition, all-terrain wheelchairs with tires designed for uneven surfaces can make rolling on sand easier.
  • Height-adjustable basketball backstops can allow wheelchair users and people of different heights to shoot hoops.
  • Many state and national parks have, or are incorporating, accessible trails and fishing piers with wide and even surfaces. Accessible fishing piers can also include lower railings to allow for unobstructed views when fishing.
  • Accessible sandbox diggers can help children who use wheelchairs move sand around in the sandbox using levers. The wheelchair sits directly outside of the sandbox and children can use the levers to shovel, scoop, and dig in the sand.
  • Accessible swingsets, based on ADA specifications, can include platforms that can handle both manual and motorized wheelchairs.

Both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) have provisions relating to recreation facilities that help ensure people with disabilities have accessible recreational options throughout the year. . For more information on what options are available in your area contact your state or local department of parks and recreation.

Additional resources from ACL grantees:

Last modified on 07/12/2021

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