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Download complete 2015 Symposium Program with descriptions of educational sessions and more (pdf 6.0 mb)

Becoming Compliant with the Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas

A PTBA Sponsored Workshop
Date: Tuesday, May 19
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cost: No fee, pre-registration required


Combining the words "Accessibility" and "Outdoor Recreation" often strikes fear in the hearts of land managers and may seem overwhelming or unobtainable. Since the Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas became law as part of the Architectural Barriers Act in November of 2013, more and more land managers are compelled to address the issue. This track will provide an overview of the outdoor recreation guidelines, discuss who is required to comply, review methods to evaluate trails, access routes and features, and review the process to create a federally required transition plan to improve access in outdoor recreation facilities. Options for symbology and scenarios for dissemination of access information to the public will be presented for evaluation and comment. This track will also include a field exercise with the collection of accessibility data for outdoor recreation features using a new mobile device application created through a USDA grant funded research and development project.

The result of this core track will be to explain the ABA requirements for outdoor recreation areas and provide land managers with both a better understanding of what is required, and the tools to begin to address issues and improve access. It is important for the outdoor community to understand that lawmakers and ADA Advocates are not looking for the whole world to be paved, but there are many ways of improving the access that do not change the character or experience provided along trails, in campgrounds, or park facilities. Becoming more informed will help alleviate the apprehension that land managers have for addressing access in their parks and trails.


Participant will be able to:
• Summarize the ABA Technical Guidelines for trails, access routes, and outdoor constructed features.
• Explain the value of, necessity and legal requirement for a Transition Plan document that identifies issues and provides a plan to improve access over time
• Discuss methods to inform the public of the level of access provided in Outdoor Developed Areas
• Describe the methods to evaluate trails, pathways, and features for compliance with the applicable ABA Guidelines


Peter W. Axelson received a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design in 1979 and an M.S.M.E. degree in Smart Product Design in 1982, both from Stanford University. He is the founder and the Director of Research and Development at Beneficial Designs, Inc., a rehabilitation engineering design firm that works towards universal access through research, design, and education. Peter has initiated and led numerous trails-related projects, including: developing the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP), and High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP). Peter has served on the American Trails Board of Directors, and has been a member of standards committees for the Recreation Access Advisory Committee to the U.S. Access Board and the Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Outdoor Developed Area Guidelines. In addition, he is Chair of the RESNA Standards Committee on Wheelchairs, a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Research and Development Scientific Review and Evaluation Board, and a member of the ASTM Playground Surfacing Systems Subcommittee. Peter is an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast. He enjoys cross-country and alpine skiing. He likes hiking in his street wheelchair, Cobra, and all-terrain vehicle. He also enjoys kayaking, canoeing, and rafting.

Nathan Tolbert began his Career while still in college at the Carson City Assessor's office. He completed the first phase of the City's GIS system by compiling the parcel base layer with Coordinate Geometry. Nathan's professional experience includes Recreation, Education, Residential and Commercial Construction, Emergency Services and Public Relations. He is a Certified ADA Coordinator through the University of Missouri-School of Health Professions and the Great Plains ADA Center and a Certified Trail Assessment Coordinator and Coordinator Trainer II in the Universal and High Efficiency Trail Assessment Processes.

Nathan is currently the Assessment Coordinator with Beneficial Designs, Inc.; and manages sidewalk and trail assessment projects as well managing the training and certification of assessment coordinators in workshops all over the United States. He is currently responsible for the oversight of a United States Department of Agriculture SBIR contract to create the Developed Outdoor Recreation Assessment Process (DORAP) to enable land managers to effectively evaluate their facilities for compliance with federal accessibility guidelines.

Symposium Sponsors





American Trails

P.O. Box 491797
Redding, CA 96049-1797
(530) 605-4395

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