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Accessibility Guidebook for Outdoor Recreation and Trails

Applying the Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines (Continued)

Providing Creature Comforts and Conveniences—Constructed Features

Constructed features are the site furnishings and other elements provided in picnic areas, campgrounds, and other recreation sites. The constructed features addressed in sections 4, 5, and 6 of the FSORAG include picnic tables, cooking surfaces, camping units, parking spurs, tent pads and platforms, fire rings, wood stoves, fireplaces, utilities, utility sinks, benches, trash containers, and recycling containers. Also included are viewing areas, telescopes, periscopes, storage facilities for assistive devices, pit toilets, warming huts, outdoor rinsing showers, and signs.

The Forest Service policy of universal design directs the agency to construct, purchase, and install only elements and constructed features that are accessible. For example, even if steep terrain or other conditions in an alteration project at a recreation site preclude complying with the slope provisions for the ORAR to a picnic table or camping unit, all the components and furnishings still must comply with the relevant sections of the FSORAG. Individuals can select the location where they want to picnic or camp without being limited by the location of accessible features of the picnic or camping unit. This requirement includes all picnic tables, pedestal grills, and other features in a picnic area or campground if they are purchased or constructed by or on behalf of the Forest Service. The few exceptions to this general rule are explained below.

The FSORAG doesn't require that any particular constructed feature be provided in a picnic area or campground. If there were no plans to provide outdoor rinsing showers, utility sinks, or utility hookups at a campground, the FSORAG wouldn't require them to be installed. However, if a feature is provided, the FSORAG requirements must be met. The same principle applies in general forest areas (GFAs). The FSORAG doesn't require constructed features and site furnishings to be provided in GFAs, but if they are provided, they must meet the requirements of the FSORAG.

Constructed features are addressed in three sections in the FSORAG: picnic areas, campgrounds, and other. The divisions aren't absolute, as some features addressed in one section may also be found in another. For example, picnic tables are addressed under Constructed Features for Picnic Areas, but the same technical provisions apply to tables provided in campgrounds. Trash receptacles are covered under Other Constructed Features, even though trash receptacles are commonly found in picnic areas and campgrounds.

Clear floor or ground space is required at each constructed feature, but the size of the clear area varies with the feature. The differences are based on how each feature is used and whether users need to approach just one side of the feature or all sides of it. For instance, users may only need to get to the front of a water hydrant, but they need to get to all sides of a picnic table or fire ring. When several constructed features are grouped together, their clear spaces may overlap. For example, the 48-inch (1,220-millimeter) clear space around a picnic table may overlap the 48-inch (1,220-millimeter) clear space around a pedestal grill provided in a picnic unit. The clear space of a constructed feature is not allowed to overlap the ORAR connecting the feature to the rest of the site.

Reach Ranges and Operability Requirements

In this guide, you will see the requirement "Controls and operating mechanisms must comply with the provisions for reach ranges and operability specified in ABAAS sections 308 and 309" whenever a site feature has buttons, knobs, handles, or other controls or operating devices. One of the basic principles of universal design and accessibility is to provide controls that almost everyone can reach and use.

The ABAAS section 309 requires that controls and operating mechanisms have to be operable with one hand without tight grasping, pinching, or wrist twisting, using a force no greater than 5 pounds (2.2 newtons).

Section 308 of the ABAAS identifies the following reach requirements:

Illustration of a person using a wheelchair, stretching forward to demonstrate high and low unobstructed forward reach limits, as explained in the paragraph above.
Figure 45—The requirements for
unobstructed forward reach.
Illustration of a person using a wheelchair, stretching to the side to demonstrate high and low unobstructed side reach limits, as explained in the paragraph above.
Figure 46—The requirements for
unobstructed side reach.
Illustration of a person using a wheelchair, stretching forward over a narrower obstacle to demonstrate reach limits, as explained in the paragraph above.
Figure 47—The requirements for
obstructed high forward reach,
narrower obstacles.

Illustration of a person using a wheelchair, stretching forward over a wider obstacle to demonstrate reach limits, as explained in the paragraph above.
Figure 48—The requirements for
obstructed high forward reach,
wider obstacles.

Illustration of a person using a wheelchair, reaching to the side over a narrow obstacle to demonstrate reach limits, as explained in the paragraph above.
Figure 49—The requirements for
obstructed high side reach,
narrower obstacles.
Illustration of a person using a wheelchair, reaching to the side over a wider obstacle to demonstrate reach limits, as explained in the paragraph above.
Figure 50—The requirements for
obstructed high side reach,
wider obstacles.

Grab Bars

Grab bars are usually provided in buildings to provide stability and allow a person to use his or her arms to assist in movement over short distances. The most common location for grab bars is in restrooms. However, grab bars are also necessary at outdoor rinsing showers and at pit toilets that have walls around them. Grab bars must comply with the reach range requirements of ABAAS section 308, as explained in Reach Ranges and Operability Requirements. They must also comply with the size, strength, finish, and position requirements in ABAAS section 609, as explained below.

Grab bars with circular cross sections must have a diameter no less than 1¼ inches (32 millimeters) and no more than 2 inches (51 millimeters). Grab bars with noncircular cross sections can't be more than 2 inches (51 millimeters) across and must be 4 to 4.8 inches (100 to 120 millimeters) around. Figure 51 shows how this is measured.

Illustration of the end view of four different grab bar shapes: circular, non-circular, oval or rounded, and rectangular. Dimensions show diameter and circumference requirements explained in the paragraph above.
Figure 51—The requirements for the
diameter and circumference of grab bars.

The space between the wall and the grab bar must be 1½ inches (38 millimeters). There must also be a space of 1½ inches (38 millimeters) between the grab bar and any projecting objects below or at the ends of the grab bar. There must be at least 12 inches (305 millimeters) between the grab bar and any projecting objects above it, except for shower controls, shower fittings, and other grab bars, which only have to be 1½ inches (38 millimeters) from the grab bar.

Grab bars and any wall or other surfaces adjacent to grab bars must have rounded edges and can't have sharp or abrasive surfaces. Grab bars must be installed so they don't rotate within their fittings. They have to be strong enough to support 250 pounds (1,112 newtons) of pressure at any point on the grab bar, fastener, mounting device, and supporting structure.

More specific location requirements are explained in the sections for Pit Toilets in General Forest Areas and Outdoor Rinsing Showers.

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