3. Statutory and Regulatory Background

The Architectural Barriers Act requires facilities constructed or altered by or on behalf of federal agencies to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.3 See 42 U.S.C. 4151 et seq. The Department of Defense, Department of Housing and Urban Development, General Services Administration, and United States Postal Service are required to adopt accessibility standards for the design, construction, and alteration of facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act.4 See 42 U.S.C. 4152 through 4154a. We are required by section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act to establish and maintain minimum guidelines and requirements for the accessibility standards adopted the federal agencies. See 29 U.S.C. 792 (b) (3). We also are required by section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act to investigate complaints alleging that facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act have not complied with the accessibility standards. See 29 U.S.C. 792 (b) (1) and (e). When we find a violation, we request the responsible federal agency to submit a corrective action plan and monitor implementation of the plan.

We issued the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines for facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act in 2004. See 69 FR 44151 (July 23, 2004). The guidelines contain scoping and technical requirements. Scoping requirements specify what features are required to be accessible and, where multiple features of the same type are provided, how many of the features are required to be accessible. Technical requirements specify the design criteria for accessible features. The scoping and technical requirements address some but not all of the features provided at outdoor areas developed for recreation purposes. For example, the scoping and technical requirements address parking areas, toilet and bathing facilities, fishing piers and platforms, and boating docks and marinas. However, the scoping and technical requirements do not address the minimum number of camping units and picnic units required to provide mobility features, or provide design criteria for viewing areas, trails, and beach access routes. The final rule amends the guidelines by adding scoping and technical requirements for these features.

The Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines are codified at Appendices C and D to 36 CFR part 1191. The Department of Defense, United States Postal Service, and General Services Administration adopted the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines as the accessibility standards for facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act Guidelines by cross-referencing Appendices C and D.5 Since these agencies cross-reference Appendices C and D, the amendments to Appendices C and D made by the final rule are incorporated into the accessibility standards for facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act. Thus, camping facilities, picnic facilities, viewing areas, trails, and beach access routes constructed or altered by or on behalf of federal agencies on or after the effective date of the final rule are required to comply with Appendices C and D, as amended by the final rule.

The final rule does not apply to outdoor developed areas administered by state and local governments and by private entities covered by Titles II and III the Americans with Disabilities Act because sufficient data were not available to prepare a regulatory assessment of the impact of the proposed rule on state and local governments or private entities. We will conduct a separate rulemaking in the future for outdoor developed areas administered by state and local governments and by private entities covered by the Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.6