New law, effective today, provides ADA accessibility to rec trails
Thanks to a new law that goes into effect today, those with a mobility disability are now able to use a mobility device to access recreation trails.
“It’s to provide mobility-disabled individuals an opportunity to enjoy recreation trails,” Conservation Director John Pullis summarized the law to the Henry County
Conservation Board during its meeting on Monday night.
The conservation department is not required to make changes in the trail system to accommodate those with disabilities; the trails just cannot be restricted except due to safety or environmental concerns.
“We want as many people [as possible] to enjoy them, as long as it’s not becoming detrimental to the trails or the environment,” said Pullis.
The restrictions cannot occur until the department has assessed the trails and the board puts the restrictions in place during their April board meeting.
“Somebody could come here with a mobility disability, get on any mobility device and ride through our trails because we have not made our assessments on the trails. We have not determined what the restrictions are, if there are any, that we need to place on them,” explained Pullis.
Next month, the board will hear the assessment of the trails, and make decisions on what restrictions must be made.
“We see our problem as being ATVs on our trails,” said Pullis. “Especially in a wildlife refuge, one of the concerns that came up was public hunting areas. If we’ve got three non-disabled individuals coupled with two disabled who are on ATVs, that’s not really a fair advantage then to the wildlife. Those mobility devices could be used to round up game.”
For more on this story, see the March 15 issue of the Mt. Pleasant News.