An extensive audit of New York State parks has revealed the need for significant improvements to cater to visitors with disabilities.
While the state’s parks met the minimum requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the audit highlighted numerous areas that could enhance accessibility.
Spanning January 2018 to October 2022, the evaluation assessed 40 parks across the state, identifying 892 potential improvement zones.
Specifically, auditors found issues such as inaccessible entrances, obstructed trails, limited parking designated for disabled visitors, and incorrect “accessible” signage and online information. The audit indicated that 97 instances were identified where park information related to accessibility seemed incorrect.
Managed by the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the New York State park system incorporates approximately 5,000 structures, 28 golf courses, 57 beaches, and over 2,000 miles of trails, among other amenities.
The audit emphasized the office’s insufficient integration of accessibility in its park management operations, highlighting the unfamiliarity of park staff with established plans and standards. According to the New York State Department of Health, more than 25% of the state’s adult population has a disability, underlining the importance of accessible recreational spaces for all residents.
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