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Accessibility Guidebook for Outdoor Recreation and Trails

Applying the Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines (Continued)

Constructed Features for Campgrounds (Continued)

Camp Unit Tent Pads and Tent Platforms

At least 20 percent of the total number of tent pads or tent platforms provided in a recreation site must meet the requirements below and be connected to the other major constructed features at the recreation area by an ORAR.

A minimum 48-inch (1,220-millimeter) clear floor or ground space must be provided on all sides of the tent on tent pads and platforms that are required to be accessible. An exception permits this width to be reduced to a minimum of 36 inches (915 millimeters) where a condition for departure exists. When tent pads or platforms are provided in recreation sites, the clear space must be adjacent to the ORAR, but it may not overlap the ORAR.

There is no minimum tent pad size because the types of tents commonly used in recreation sites and in GFAs vary widely in different parts of the country and even in different parts of a single district. For example, at a campground near a wilderness access point, small tents may be used. Large family tents may be common at a more developed campground with numerous constructed features for campers.

Local campground managers are the best source of information about the size of tents commonly used in an area. Adding the 48-inch (1,220-millimeter) or 36-inch (915-millimeter) clear space to the size of a typical tent will determine the minimum size of tent pads and platforms for that campground. Designers may want to provide a range of tent pad or platform sizes to accommodate a variety of tents.

In GFAs, 5 percent of the total number of tent pads or platforms must meet the requirements below, but connection to an ORAR isn't required. Because most facilities provided in GFAs are for resource protection rather than for visitor convenience, the requirements are reduced to minimize alteration of the site and setting, while integrating accessibility.

For instance, it isn't unusual to find six or seven tents close together in a GFA. Typically, the spaces allotted for these tents are about 10 by 12 feet (3 by 3.6 meters), which would easily accommodate a 5- by 8-foot (1.5- by 2.4-meter) tent. An accessible pad for the same size tent with a 4-foot (1.2-meter) clear space all around would need to be at least 13 by 16 feet (4 by 4.8 meters). If all tent spaces were required to meet the FSORAG's technical provisions, a significantly larger area would be affected by the tent pads.

The slope of an accessible tent pad or platform can't exceed 1:50 (2 percent) in any direction. An exception permits the slope to be up to 1:33 (3 percent) maximum where needed for proper drainage. Figure 63 shows the required dimensions and slopes for tent pads and platforms.

The surface of an accessible tent pad or platform must be firm and stable, be able to accommodate the use of tent stakes or other devices to secure the tent, and should be of a material that is appropriate for the level of development and setting. An exemption to the surfacing provision is allowed where a condition for departure exists.

Illustration of a tent on a ground level tent pad. Dimensions and labels show clearance and slope requirements explained in the paragraphs above.
Figure 63—The requirements for a tent pad.

The FSORAG doesn't require edge protection on tent platforms. However, if designers and managers determine that edge protection is needed for safety or other reasons, it must be at least 3 inches (75 millimeters) high. If edge protection is provided, it must not be placed where it would block access to the platform.

Accessible tent platforms are sometimes at ground level and sometimes above ground level. The ORAR should connect to ground-level tent platforms at ground level. For above-grade platforms, there are two choices. The ORAR can either ramp up to platform level, or it can end adjacent to the tent platform at 17 to 19 inches (430 to 485 millimeters) lower than the platform. This height is suitable for transferring from a wheelchair to the platform. Figure 64 shows a solution for providing an accessible tent platform in a highly developed campground.

Photo of a raised tent platform adjacent to a hill on one side and asphalt paved outdoor recreation access route on two sides. The platform is constructed of mortared native rock and is filled with fine gravel.
Figure 64—A tent platform in a highly developed
campground at the Coronado National Forest.

Fire Rings, Fireplaces, and Wood Stoves

Although these features are addressed in separate sections of the FSORAG, they are discussed together here because their provisions are quite similar. Where fire rings and wood stoves are provided, each one must meet the requirements explained below. When fire rings and wood stoves are provided in recreation sites, an ORAR must connect them to the other major constructed features at the recreation area. An ORAR isn't required for fire rings, fireplaces, and wood stoves in GFAs.

The fire-building surface within a fire ring must be a minimum of 9 inches (230 millimeters) above the floor or ground surface. This matches the low side reach range in ABAAS. An exemption from the 9-inch (230-millimeter) height requirement is allowed where a condition for departure exists. This exception is included particularly for fire rings provided in GFAs and wilderness areas.

For example, in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, some fire rings created by users at popular campsites are allowed to remain (rather than being dismantled) to reduce the chance that campfires might become wildfires. Often these fire rings are simple circles of rocks that can be considered temporary structures appropriate in the wilderness setting. A fire-building surface 9 inches (230 millimeters) above the ground would require higher sides and a permanent structure that would be inappropriate in a wilderness setting.

Some outdoor fireplaces and custom-built fire rings have a wall around the fire-building area, perhaps built out of bricks or mortared stone. In addition to the requirement for a fire-building surface that is at least 9 inches (230 millimeters) above the ground or floor, the distance a person would have to reach across the wall and down to the fire-building surface cannot exceed 24 inches (610 millimeters). Figures 65 and 66 illustrate this requirement.

Illustration of a person using a wheelchair cooking bacon in a pan on the grill of an outdoor fireplace. Dimensions show clear space, height, slope, and reach distance requirements, as explained in the paragraphs above and below.
Figure 65—The height, clear space, and reach
range requirements for an outdoor fireplace.

 

Illustration of a person using a wheelchair roasting marshmallows over an open fire in a fire ring built from manufactured stone. There is a tent in the background. A dog is watching the man. Dimensions show clear space, slope, height, and reach distance requirements explained in the paragraphs above and below.
Figure 66—The height and reach requirements
for custom fire rings.

This provision normally doesn't affect standard, commercially manufactured fire rings that are common in campgrounds, such as the fire ring shown in figure 67. The material used to fabricate commercial fire rings usually is not very thick or wide, so the reach to the fire-building surface is normally less than 24 inches (610 millimeters).

Illustration of a manufactured steel fire ring with an adjustable height grill. A coffee pot and pan are on the grill. There is firewood inside the fire ring and more stacked nearby. An ax leans against a nearby chopping block. A dimension shows that the fire building surface must be 9 inches (230 millimeters) above the ground.
Figure 67—The height and reach requirements
for manufactured steel fire rings.

All usable portions of a fire ring, fireplace, or wood stove must have a clear floor or ground space that extends at least 48 inches (1,220 millimeters) out from the ring or stove and is at least 48 inches (1,220 millimeters) wide. An exception allows this space to be reduced to 36 inches (915 millimeters) minimum where a condition for departure exists. The clear space must be adjacent to the ORAR, but it may not overlap the ORAR. The clear space is required for safety so that someone isn't forced to get too close to the heat or fire and risk getting burned.

The slope of the clear floor or ground space around a fire ring, fireplace, or wood stove may not exceed 1:50 (2 percent) in any direction. Where required for proper drainage, an exception permits the slope to be up to 1:33 (3 percent) in any direction. The surface of the clear floor or ground space must be firm and stable. Exemptions from the slope and surface requirements for fire rings, fireplaces, and wood stoves are allowed where a condition for departure exists. The exceptions are particularly relevant for fire rings provided in GFAs.

Controls and operating mechanisms for a wood stove must comply with the provisions for reach ranges and operability specified in ABAAS sections 308 and 309 and explained in Reach Ranges and Operability Requirements.

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