Proposed Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas

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Published in the Federal Register on June 20, 2007.

36 CFR Part 1195
[Docket No. 2007-02]

AGENCY: Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

ACTION: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

SUMMARY: The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) is proposing to issue accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas designed, constructed, or altered by Federal agencies subject to the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968. The guidelines cover trails, outdoor recreation access routes, beach access routes, and picnic and camping facilities.

DATES: Comments should be received by October 18, 2007. The Access Board will hold hearings on July 24, 2007 from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. and on September 6, 2007 from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. 2007–02, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Include Docket No. 2007–02 in the subject line of the message.
  • Fax: (202) 272–0081.
  • Mail or Hand Delivery: Office of Technical and Information Services, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street, NW., suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004–1111.

All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.access-board.gov, including any personal information provided. Comments will also be available for inspection at the above address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on regular business days. The hearing on July 24, 2007 will be held at the Westin Westminster, 10600 Westminster Boulevard, Westminster, CO 80020; the hearing on September 6, 2007 will be held at the Madison Hotel, 1177 Fifteenth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Botten, Office of Technical and Information Services, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street, NW, suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111. Telephone number (202) 272-0014 (Voice); (202) 272-0082 (TTY). These are not toll-free numbers. E-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Availability of Copies and Electronic Access

Single copies of this publication may be obtained at no cost by calling the Access Board’s automated publications order line (202) 272-0080, by pressing 2 on the telephone keypad, then 1 and requesting publication S-65 (Outdoor Developed Areas Notice of Proposed Rulemaking). Please record your name, address, city, State, zip code, telephone number and request publication code S-65. Persons using a TTY should call (202) 272-0082. This document is available in alternate formats upon request. Persons who want this publication in an alternate format should specify the type of format (cassette tape, Braille, large print, or ASCII disk). This document is also available on the Board’s website (http://www.access-board.gov).

Background

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) is responsible for developing accessibility guidelines to ensure that new construction and alterations of facilities subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to State and local government facilities, places of public accommodation, and commercial facilities. The Architectural Barriers Act applies to federally financed facilities.

The Access Board has developed accessibility guidelines for buildings and various other facilities subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Architectural Barriers Act. The Access Board recently revised the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines in 2004. 69 FR 44084 (July, 23, 2004). The revised accessibility guidelines are codified at 36 CFR Part 1191, Appendices A through E, and are available at the Access Board’s website (http://www.access-board.gov/ada-aba/final.htm). The revised accessibility guidelines include scoping and technical provisions for several types of recreation facilities, including recreational boating facilities, fishing piers and platforms, golf facilities, play areas, and swimming pools. However, the revised accessibility guidelines do not address access to such outdoor developed areas as trails, beaches, and picnic and camping facilities.

The Access Board convened a Recreation Access Advisory Committee in 1993 as the first step in developing accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas and other recreation facilities. The advisory committee presented its report in 1994, and the Access Board issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) the same year requesting public comment on the committee’s recommendations. 59 FR 48542 (September 21, 1994). The public comments revealed a lack of consensus on some major issues regarding outdoor developed areas.

The Access Board subsequently established a regulatory negotiation committee in 1997 to propose accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas.1 Regulatory negotiation is a supplement to the traditional rulemaking process that allows for face to face negotiations among representatives of affected interests, including the agency, with a goal of reaching consensus on a proposed rule. The proposed rule is then published in the Federal Register and the public has an opportunity to comment. Based on public comments received, the final rule may differ from the proposed rule. The regulatory negotiation committee reached consensus on proposed accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas, and presented its report to the Access Board in 1999. The regulatory negotiation committee’s report is available at the Access Board’s website (http://www.access-board.gov/outdoor/outdoor-rec-rpt.htm).

Federal agencies are required to assess the impacts of proposed rules and final rules, and prepare detailed analyses of the costs and benefits of the rules if the impacts are economically significant.2 Sufficient data is not presently available for the Access Board to assess the impacts of the proposed accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas on State and local governments and private entities. Consequently, the Access Board has decided to limit this proposed rule to outdoor developed areas designed, constructed, or altered by Federal agencies subject to the Architectural Barriers Act. At a future date, when an assessment of the impacts on State and local governments and private entities can be prepared, the Access Board will conduct a separate rulemaking for outdoor developed areas subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The proposed rule will primarily affect the following Federal land management agencies and their components: Department of Agriculture (Forest Service); Department of Interior (National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation), and Department of Defense (Army Corps of Engineers). In May 2006, the Forest Service published a notice of a final directive that requires compliance with the Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines (FSORAG), 71 FR 29288 (May 22, 2006), and the Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG) 71 FR 29294 (May 22, 2006). The FSORAG and FSTAG provide accessibility direction for outdoor developed recreation areas in the National Forest System. When the Board finalizes its accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas, the Forest Service will revise the FSORAG and FSTAG as needed to incorporate the Board’s guidelines.

The proposed accessibility guidelines in the regulatory negotiation committee’s report followed the format and numbering system of the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines that was initially issued by the Access Board in 1991. As indicated earlier, the Access Board revised the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines in 2004. The revised accessibility guidelines use a new format and numbering system. The proposed rule follows the new format and numbering system of the revised accessibility guidelines. The proposed rule has also been edited to conform to the style of the revised accessibility guidelines. The substance of the proposed rule is the same as in the regulatory negotiation committee’s report.

The proposed rule is presented as a “stand alone” document. The proposed rule consists of four chapters. Chapter T1 contains general provisions. Chapter T2 contains scoping provisions for trails, outdoor recreation access routes, beach access routes, picnic and camping facilities, and elements associated with those facilities. Chapter T3 contains technical provisions that are unique to the items scoped in Chapter T2. Chapter T4 contains supplementary technical provisions that are common to all facilities such as turning space, reach ranges, operable parts, and doors, and are also applicable to the items scoped in Chapter T2. Chapter T4 also adapts the technical provisions for toilet facilities to apply to pit toilets. Facilities and elements such as visitor centers, parking lots, plumbed toilets and bathing facilities, drinking fountains, recreational boating facilities, and fishing piers and platforms that are covered by the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines issued in 2004 are not included in this proposed rule. A provision has been added to Chapter T2 (T201.4) requiring facilities and elements covered by the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines to comply with those guidelines.

The Board invites comment on the format of the proposed rule and other format recommendations for the final rule.