NCA Seeks Land Managers with Trails to Participate in National Study

From the National Center on Accessibility

January 4, 2010

The National Center on Accessibility is seeking land managers with pedestrian trails in public parks, forests, lands, and other recreation areas to participate in a national study on the accessibility of various types of soil stabilization products.  This is the second of a four phase national trails study conducted by the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University with support from the U.S. Access Board.

The development of accessibility guidelines for outdoor recreation areas and trails has culminated in a 10 year process with the recent release of the Draft Final Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas in October 2009.  In many instances, the choice of various surface materials can have a direct impact on the maintenance of the accessible trail and the resulting trail user experience.  Even with the development of scoping and technical provisions for trails, lack of information on the effectiveness of various types of surface materials continues to pose trail building and maintenance challenges for trail coordinators.

This national trails study is designed to analyze parameters such as installation procedures, labor requirements, ongoing maintenance needs, costs, and aggregate combination requirements in the use of various soil stabilization products to provide accessible trail surfaces. 

This four phase study began with the selection of “green” stabilizer products, and the subsequent application of those products to trail surfaces at Bradford Woods, the 2,400 acre outdoor education and leadership center of Indiana University.  The five year study includes a quarterly assessment of maintenance, durability and accessibility of seven stabilizer products.  Phase two will include a comprehensive survey of sites that are currently using “green” soil stabilizer products on a trail surface. Categorized into one of six geographic regions throughout the United States, representatives from each site will provide information installation, costs, maintenance and wear in relation to the climate, trail function and use.  During phase three, the survey information will be compiled and submitted in report form to the U.S. Access Board, as well as made available publically through the NCA web site.  The final phase will utilize the findings to conduct a variety of forum discussions in addition to developing technical assistance and educational curriculum on the topic of accessible trails.

Those interested in participating in the study or who would like additional information, please contact:

Nikki M. Montembeault, Accessibility Specialist
National Center on Accessibility
(812) 856-3680

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