Universal Access Trails

Video: Access For Everyone

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Historic Muir Rock is one of the most popular Kings River access areas for Park visitors, and it affords wonderful canyon views. The “Muir Rock” Model Universal Access project was completed this spring just in time for summer visitors!

Gale Williams rolls along newly accessible trail.

The project widened the established trail corridor, stabilizing the tread surface, and increasing access to the rock. With a generous donation from the Jeangerard Family Foundation not only has access to the rock improved but also enabled the Park to build a bridge across the adjacent outlet of Copper Creek, providing direct access to a beautiful, very popular swimming beach along the banks of the Kings River.

With Your support, the Foundation has the opportunity to create the finest nature trail in Kings Canyon, if not the entire Sierra Nevada enabling those with limited mobility — children, the disabled, the elderly, and wounded veterans — to truly experience these great parks. Work on the universal access extension beyond Zumwalt Meadow to the Red Bridge is now underway and will go as far as funding (and weather!) allow in 2012.

Until recently, standards for universally accessible recreational facilities for people with limited mobility applied only to sidewalks and building entrances. But the United States Access Board issued new standards with specific guidelines on appropriate construction of facilities, now including campgrounds, picnic areas, and trails.

Past work in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks involved creating short, paved trails at major destination points that met the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The General Sherman Tree Trail is just one example.

ADA-based trail construction is valuable and called for at certain sites, but is prohibitive on a grand scale because of impact and cost. The Foundation provided funding for a comprehensive assessment of the need for and feasibility of improvements to front-country trails. In Kings Canyon, the assessment identified 16 possible trail upgrade sites (totaling over $1.5 million). The assessment in Sequoia is now under way.

As our efforts to create more meaningful access to wilderness for visitors of all abilities continues, you’ll be hearing more from us about opportunities to support this important work.