PUBLISHED: 2:29 PM on Wednesday, March 16, 2005
USFS wants input on access in the wild
The Forest Service is seeking comments from the public on two interim directives that aim to maximize accessibility for visitors with disabilities to outdoor recreation areas while at the same time preserving natural settings. Both directives were published Feb.17, 2005 in the Federal Register. The deadline to comment is April 18, 2005.

The Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines and the Forest Service Trails Accessibility Guidelines are intended to provide direction for Forest Service managers to best serve forest visitors with and without disabilities. They will apply only on lands managed by the Forest Service. Text versions of these draft guidelines and also text and PDF versions of the Federal Register notices can be viewed or downloaded at

The directives address accessibility of outdoor recreation facilities and hiking trails not covered by existing standards, according to Nora Laughlin, Regional Landscape Architect, Alaska Region, Forest Service. The Forest Service worked with the U.S. Access Board's Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Outdoor Developed Areas to draft guidelines for design of outdoor recreation facilities, but publication of those guidelines has been delayed. Because the Forest Service needs standards for development in outdoor areas, the Forest Service developed these interim guidelines based on the committee's draft. For a summary of the differences between the committee's draft guidelines and the Forest Service proposed directives, call Laughlin at 586-8728 or e-mail

Comments on the directives must be received in writing by April 18, 2005. Submit comments by fax: 202-205-1145; by mail: USDA Forest Service, Attn: Director, Recreation and Heritage Resources Staff, Mail Stop 1125, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20250-0003; e-mail comments on outdoor recreation accessibility guidelines to, and comments on trail accessibility guidelines to; or follow instructions at the federal rulemaking portal,