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U.S. Forest Service National Honorees for Accessibility Accomplishments


A picture of a family out enjoying a trail on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.


Unit National Honor Winners



Red Rock District, Coconino National Forest

The employees of the Coconino National Forest Red Rock District have the mindset of providing the best recreational opportunity to all visitors that guides their work. For example, the V Bar V historic site of rock art from the Southern Sinagua, the largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley, is often visited by more than 200 visitors a day. The old path down from the parking lot to the Visitor Center was the service road that had a steep slope and gravel surface that was not accessible. The landscape architect’s accessible redesign was shared with the project manager and the trail crew who would be constructing the new route to the rock art. Crews felt a huge sense of accomplishment with the project knowing everyone could make their way to the rock art panel site safely. The new trail has accessible slopes, pull offs, and a firm and stable compacted decomposed granite as the surfacing.



White River National Forest

Accessibility has been a focus of the White River National Forest since the late 1980s. With 9.4 million visitors to the forest each year it is important that accessibility be integrated into facilities so people with and without disabilities can recreate together. Accessible fishing piers have been installed at Camp Hale, Yeoman Park and Dillon Reservoir; 13 fully accessible trails have been constructed; more than 110 non-accessible toilets have been replaced with accessible restrooms across the forest; and approximately 80 office and general information kiosks have been constructed and installed across the forest to provide information and replace kiosks that were not accessible. In addition the Forest also works with partners providing recreational opportunities. As an example, White River staff provided accessibility guidance to the Colorado Department of Transportation during the planning and reconstruction of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon that resulted in all four rest areas and picnic sites and most of the 13-mile-long bike path being accessible. The forest has been diligent working with downhill ski areas, hut system providers, outfitter/guides, campground concessionaires and others that operate under special use permits to ensure programs provided by these entities are welcoming all visitors including those who have disabilities.


North Carolina

National Forests of North Carolina

National Forests in North Carolina have committed to make fishing an activity accessible for all. Forest and district biologists, engineers, landscape architects and recreation proponents have created a comprehensive network of accessible fishing opportunities. Over the past 20 years, through careful planning, design, and construction, often in partnership with North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission, accessible fishing facilities have been constructed from the mountains to the sea, providing opportunities that include coastal fishing in streams, warm water fishing in reservoirs and small ponds, and cold water angling in streams and rivers, including some premiere trout fishing destinations.
Cantilevered fishing pier designs have been refined over the years and have been adopted for use by the Wildlife Resources Commission throughout the state. Site-specific design has provided accessible parking and routes to these water-based sites; most of the fishing piers include areas for both seated and standing fishing; recent piers have incorporated a metal mesh water-viewing component into a portion of the pier’s flooring. Wounded Warriors Project Chapters have assisted with projects, particularly on the Croatan National Forest. Other partners who have provided funding or assistance in constructing these facilities include Trout Unlimited, the Muskie Club and Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society.



Panhandle National Forest

The Idaho Panhandle National Forest is a leader in providing accessible recreation settings and opportunities that are appreciated by all while preserving the cultural and natural resources are critical to the outdoor recreation experience. The forest has developed unique opportunities in which all can participate, such as on the Hiawatha Trail. The forest has gone beyond simply applying the accessibility standards for facilities and campsite furnishings by influencing facility design locally, regionally and nationally through the development of their own designs. Those designs include a unique accessible fire ring that all campers can enjoy and a variety of other campsite furniture, such as accessible toilet buildings that blend with Civilian Conservation Corps-era facilities, benches that are rustic yet accessible, and tables that utilize native materials while accommodating wheelchair access. The Idaho Panhandle Forest’s attitude of integrating universal design also penetrates program delivery.   The forest has a diverse range of special uses including ski area management, outfitter guide programs, resorts, and other recreation services. Their dedication and willingness to work with permit holders has created an environment of cooperation and shared problem solving.  The delivery of recreation services on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest are some of the finest in the Region. 



Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest employees are committed to being a forest that has made a difference by ensuring the accessibility is integrated into to work they do. As the result currently 37 percent of the recreation units on the Wallowa-Whitman are accessible with that number increasing with each opportunity the forest has to replace a facility or campsite furnishing. The forest has received many compliments for the work they have done from visitors who can now better enjoy and use the facilities. In one example the Forest shared, “WWNF work crew had just finished work on an accessible campsite and was walking to the next site, when an older couple pulled in to camp. In visiting with them later, they were very pleased with the retrofits. They said that these sites were more desirable for them as they get older since their physical abilities are changing. These compliments make you realize that the work done is well appreciated”.



Spring Mountain National Recreation Area

The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area on the Humboldt-Toiyabe is in the process of reconstructing multiple recreation facilities and a new visitor’s center. During design for each of these projects, accessibility has been in the forefront of the design process and the Spring Mountain staff has gone to great lengths to incorporate accessible standards and features into each project. Two examples are the Desert View Overlook and Cathedral Rock Picnic Area projects, which have recently been awarded for construction during the summer of 2012. Desert View Overlook is a popular stop along Nevada 158. The existing facility will be improved with a widened shoulder along the highway to allow for parking including accessible parking. The 350-foot pathway to a desert overlook with beautiful views will be regarded and resurfaces to be accessible and extended to 1,050 feet to a second overlook to provide additional vistas and opportunity for interpretation of local wildlife and historical information. Work at Cathedral Rock, a popular picnic area near the top of Mount Charleston, will include removal of current parking along Nevada 157 and the construction of a larger parking area off the main highway that will provide improved access and safety for all visitors.  Accessible paths are planned throughout the campground, including a paved trail to the top of the “knoll” or scenic overlook near the center of the campground. Fully accessible flush toilets and vault toilets will be installed throughout the campground.  68 single units, 20 double units and two group units will be constructed, as well as play spaces and gathering spaces.  There will be four areas with interactive accessible interpretive exhibits for children.


US Forest Service
Last modified March 29, 2013

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