For Immediate ReleaseNovember 19, 2015
Goal is to improve accessibility to open space for users of all abilities
San Rafael, CA – The County of Marin, eager to improve the accessibility of open space trails, presented a new comprehensive draft plan November 19 to the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission.
Through its first Inclusive Access Plan, Marin County Parks is undertaking an ambitious effort to create more recreational opportunities for people of all abilities. The goal is to increase the equitability of access to all County open space and help visitors plan their visits according to their own physical abilities.
As part of its presentation to the Park commission, staff presented a draft of the four plan components:
1) the incorporation of appropriate accessible design features in open space preserves;
2) guidelines for communicating trail condition and trailhead amenity information to users;
3) basic design and location selection for a system of destination-oriented trails that would maximize access to the various habitat and outdoor experiences found on Marin County Parks trails for users of all abilities, and;
4) updates to policies that make it possible for Parks to manage issues presented by rapid technological change — for example, other power-driven mobility devices that are capable of navigating steep and uneven terrain.
“Improving access to our roads and trails means that more people will be able to explore the county’s incredible landscapes,” said Craig Richardson, an open space planner for Marin County Parks. “The input we received from several focus group sessions, an open house and the two public workshops over the past year was invaluable to us, and we feel confident that this draft plan is representative of that.”
Development of the plan included review and analysis of current state, federal, and county requirements, standards, and best-practice guidelines relating to accessibility in open space areas. Parks conducted an outreach campaign to organizations and stakeholders who have a primary interest in access issues.
The public review period ends December 3, 2015. Suggestions may be sent to Craig Richardson by email or calling (415) 473-7057. Parks staff plans to present the Parks commission with a final draft plan and accompanying environmental documents in spring 2016.
The Inclusive Access Plan has been made possible by funding from Measure A, a 10-year, quarter-cent retail and use tax passed by voters in November 2012. Measure A funding is meant to care for Marin’s existing parks and open spaces, support regional community parks projects and programs, and further farmland preservation.
Craig RichardsonSenior Open Space PlannerMarin County Parks
Marin Civic CenterSuite 260San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7057Email: Craig RichardsonMarin County Parks website