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 MTDC > MTDC Pubs >1223-2806P-MTDC; Accessibility Guidebook for Outdoor Recreation and Trails T&D Publications Header

Accessibility Guidebook for Outdoor Recreation and Trails

Applying Accessibility Guidelines to Your Site

How did we end up with so many accessibility guidelines and standards? Which guidelines and standards apply to your site? The following information will demystify accessibility guidelines and standards.

The History of Accessibility Guidelines

As explained earlier in this guidebook, accessibility laws have been enacted and updated since 1968. Here is a brief history of the guidelines for buildings, recreation facilities, and trails:

  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)— 1969 to 1980. The first accessibility guidelines used by Federal agencies under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).

  • General Services Administration Accessibility Guidelines—1980 to 1984. The General Services Administration (GSA) developed its own set of guidelines for all buildings other than those of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Postal Service. Those agencies developed their own guidelines.

  • Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS)— 1984 to 2006. These standards updated and expanded the GSA accessibility guidelines. The standards were adopted under ABA and applied to all federally funded facilities, unless there was a higher standard of accessibility for that type of structure required by other legal standards or guidelines.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG)—1991 to 2010. ADAAG explains how to apply the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 in the built environment. These guidelines apply to services provided by State and local governments, and public accommodations, such as motels and hotels.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act/Architectural Barrier Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADA/ABAAG) of 2004. Issued by the U.S. Access Board, these guidelines were developed as a merger and update of UFAS and ADAAG requirements. Chapters 1 and 2 contain application, administration, and scoping requirements. The 100 and 200 series apply only to those entities covered by ADA, (State and local government entities and private entities open to the public) and are NOT for Federal agency use. The F100 and F200 series apply only to facilities constructed by, for, or on behalf of Federal agencies. Chapters 3 through 10 provide the technical specifications that apply to all entities, unless the State or Federal agency has its own accessibility guidelines that are an equal or higher standard.

  • Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards (ABAAS) of 2006. The GSA, standard-setting agency for Forest Service facilities, adopted the ABA portion of ADA/ABAAG as the standard for all agencies under its standard-setting jurisdiction. The new ABAAS replaced UFAS.

  • ADA Standards for Accessible Design (ADASAD) of 2010. The U.S. Department of Justice adopted the ADA portion of ADA/ABAAG for use by State and local government entities and private entities open to the public. ADASAD is effective as of March 15, 2012.

  • Outdoor Developed Areas Accessibility Guidelines (ODAAG) of 2012. The U.S. Access Board developed ODAAG as a component of ADA/ABAAG. It contains accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed recreation areas and trails that are federally funded. Federal agencies may develop and use their own guidelines only if they are an equal or higher standard.

  • Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines (FSORAG) and Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG), 2012 Updates. These guidelines are an equal or higher standard than ODAAG for outdoor recreation facilities and trails on the National Forest System. These guidelines must be used for the design, construction, alteration, purchase, or replacement of recreation sites, facilities, constructed features, and trails that meet FSTAG criteria on the National Forest System (FSM 2330 and FSM 2350).

Current Accessibility Guidelines That Apply to the Forest Service

The Forest Service and those working with or for the Forest Service on National Forest System land must comply with the following enforceable guidelines and standards when designing, constructing, or altering any facility or component addressed by those standards on National Forest System land.

Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards (ABAAS). Forest Service drinking fountains, toilet facilities, parking lots and spaces, cabins, and administrative buildings are among the components covered by ABAAS. The complete ABAAS is available at http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-aba-standards/aba-standards.

Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines (FSORAG) and Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG). These guidelines must be used for the design, construction, alteration, purchase, or replacement of recreation sites, facilities, constructed features, and trails on the National Forest System. The complete FSORAG and FSTAG are available at http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/accessibility/.

Table 1 shows examples of different facilities that are covered by ABAAS, FSORAG, and FSTAG.

Table 1—Accessibility guidelines quick guide (which accessibility guidelines apply where).

ABAAS FSORAG
Apply only within National Fores System boundaries)
FSTAG
(Apply only within National Forest System boundaries)
Buildings, Boating, and Fishing Recreation Site Features Hiker and Pedestrian Trails
All Buildings, including:
  • Administrative offices
  • Residences
  • Crew quarters
  • Visitor centers
  • Entrance stations
  • Parking lots

Building components such as:

  • Restrooms with and without water
  • Work stations
  • Doors
  • Operating controls (door handles, faucet controls, thermostats, etc.)
  • Drinking fountains

Boating and fishing facilities, including:

  • Boating facilities
  • Docks
  • Fishing piers and platforms

New or reconstructed:

  • Picnic areas
  • Fire rings
  • Picnic tables
  • Grills
  • Woodstoves
  • Benches
  • Cooking surfaces
  • Pedestal grills
  • Fireplaces
  • Beach access
  • Outdoor recreation access routes
  • Camping unites (eating and cooking areas, parking spurs, tent pads)
  • Campground utility connections
  • Water hydrants
  • Outdoor rinsing showers
  • Pit toilets in remote areas
  • Trash and recycling containers
  • Viewing areas and overlooks
  • Telescopes and periscopes

Trails that are new or altered

and

  • Have a Federal Trail Data Standard (FTDS) Designed Use of Hiker/Pedestrian

and

  • Connect either directly to a trailhead

or

  • Connect directly to a trail that substantially complies with FSTAG