It is important that universal accessibility be incorporated wherever possible. Incorporation of these site requirements should not come at the expense of the setting that they are intended to allow access to. If the landscape or historic site needs to be altered to an extent that its character or intrinsic value is changed for everyone - no one will benefit.
It is important that a full spectrum of recreation opportunities exist.
Challenging terrain is in itself a valued recreation experience.
I am most concerned about how the proposed revisions to the Access Board guidelines could affect the character of trail-based recreation. It is important to recognize that there is a range of trail types and trail experiences. Some of these should meet universal access requirements, but some should not — based on their setting, character, and environmental limitations.
I am also concerned with the elimination of “conditions for departure” for regulations at developed recreation sites, if the existing conditions would need to significantly alter the character or historic value of a site in order to meet the new regulations. This does not appear to be in the best interest of the public.
Daniel Cressy, ASLA
Acting Forest Landscape Architect
USDA Forest Service
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
35 College Drive
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150