Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-0307
September 11, 2007
Ms. Tricia Mason
Architectural and Transportation Compliance Board
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1111
re: Docket # 2007-02
Dear Ms. Mason:
As Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, I have followed the development of accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas. Now that the Board has published the proposed guidelines, I write to offer my comments for inclusion in the record.
The Board is to be commended for developing these proposed guidelines. The process has been lengthy and difficult but it has also been thorough and open to a broad array of individuals and organizations interested in assuring that our public trails, beaches and campgrounds are accessible. I feel certain the process of finalizing these guidelines will be equally open and rigorous. All visitors will benefit from the Board’s work.
Development and implementation of these guidelines are critical steps in a growing awareness of the enormous possibilities for providing access to places and experiences once thought out of reach for those with disabilities. Advances in universal design, new technologies and new thinking are removing barriers once thought permanent. The Board’s leadership in these efforts is crucial.
The overall approach taken in these proposed guidelines — to assume that areas covered by the guidelines are accessible, with a short list of specific exceptions — is appropriate and will serve to balance increased access with preservation of the natural, cultural and scenic resources visitors want to enjoy. The consistency and predictability provided by this approach will be invaluable to those planning to visit areas covered by the guidelines.
I would urge the Board to implement an aggressive and proactive public outreach program, coordinated with the federal land management agencies, once these guidelines are finalized. A lack of reliable information can be one of the most significant barriers faced by visitors to our public lands and the Board is in a unique position to coordinate efforts to insure that visitors are well informed.
Once again, I commend the Board and its staff for the significant effort required to bring these proposed guidelines to this point in the process and I look forward to assisting the Board with implementation and oversight going forward.
Raúl M. Grijalva
1440 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0307
810 E. 22nd Street, Suite 102
Tucson, AZ 85713
1455 S. Fourth Avenue, Suite 4
Yuma, AZ 85364
Phone: (928) 343-7933
Fax: (928) 343-7949
Education and the Workforce
Democratic Caucus Environmental Task Force Chair
Democratic Private Calendar Objector