Accessibility in Parks
California’s state parks make up the most-visited state park system in the nation. The system’s 280 state parks provide recreation for nearly 100 million visitors annually, all with their own desires and capabilities. A barrier-free system of state parks would allow all visitors to feel welcome, regardless of their abilities and according to their needs.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 ensured equal opportunity for all persons to benefit from the programs, activities and services offered by any public entity.
In the early 1980s, California State Parks created the Disabled Advisory Committee (DAC) to help make its park units accessible to all visitors. The DAC recruits its committee members from among persons with disabilities, including Department employees, members of the general public, and those who advocate on accessibility issues. The committee studies access to facilities within state parks and nominates for recognition those whose outstanding achievements for people with disabilities have increased opportunities for universal access.
Today, accessibility in California’s state parks includes (but is not limited to):
* designated-accessible parking spaces;
* restrooms with wheelchair-accessible stalls, showers and plumbing, including drinking water sources;
* picnic areas with tables that accommodate wheelchairs;
* accessibly constructed campsites;
* paved, level paths of travel;
* trails, including some that allow visitors to “see” with their hands (Calaveras Big Trees State Park); the 2.21-mile South Yuba Independence Trail at South Yuba River State Park; and hiking the Cemetery Trail at Bodie State Historic Park;
* fishing activities, including accessible fish-cleaning facilities;
* programs that include ocean kayaking and children’s activities; and
* visitor centers, including historic buildings, made accessible or more accessible with ramp systems, adjusted counter heights, cleared, wide paths, assisted listening devices or printed materials, and accessible restroom facilities.
The Disabled Discount Pass
For a one-time, lifetime fee of $3.50, the Disabled Discount Pass provides a 50% discount (per vehicle) for individuals with permanent disabilities to use state parks. This includes day use, family camping, and boat use. Please contact the park you wish to visit in well advance to find out if any restrictions apply. Apply for the Disabled Discount Pass in person at most district offices or at the Headquarters Office at 1416-9th Street, Room 144, Sacramento, California 95814.
You may also visit http://access.parks.ca.gov for updates on accessibility in California State Parks.