Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Ruling Allows Power-Driven Mobility Devices on Trails

Effective March 15, people with mobility-related disabilities will be able to legally use power-driven mobility devices other than wheelchairs to access trails on public lands. This Department of Justice Ruling has been under consideration for awhile, with much input from the disability community and others. It specifically applies to those entities covered under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). In reading through some of the text of the ruling, I find it admirable to see how well considered the needs of people with disabilities are taken by the federal government, although the new law does not apply to federally managed public lands, such as National Parks. State, local, and private land managers are scrambling now to figure out how to integrate the new DOJ ruling into practice, since it will apply to trails not normally open to motorized vehicles. Areas that have been assessed according to DOJ standards may be exempt from the new ruling.

Five years ago at one of our Universal Access Program events in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, a woman on a Segway using the Ashuwilliticook Rail Trail rolled up to talk to us and demonstrate her new mobility device. It was exciting to see the Segway in use, particularly by someone with multiple sclerosis. The Segway is a good example of a power driven mobility device designed for broad public use, with great potential for some people with disabilities. Other examples include golf carts and ATVs.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wheelchair Accessible Maple Sugaring!

Tired of winter? Time to jump start spring and get your taste of a New England Tradition! Sample the syrup as it is being made this month at the following locations and events near Boston.

March 12 and 13  10am - 4pm  Maple Sugar Days at the Blue Hill Reservation in Milton, MA - This annual event is wheelchair accessible! Admission is $6 per person, ages 2 and younger are free. Enjoy the smell of sap cooking down, the taste of the latest batch, a free shuttle ride, and activities for all ages at beautiful Brookwood Farm. DCR and Mass Audubon jointly host this highly popular program. Nearby at Trailside Museum, visit outdoor wildlife exhibits. For more information, please call 617-698-1802 or 617-333-0690.