July 26, 2015 is the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. This civil rights law opened up worlds of possibilities for people with disabilities to join mainstream American life.
The ADA has provided guidance on how to make things accessible to people with disabilities but it has always been important to the Florida Park Service that all visitors feel welcome in Florida State Parks. Long before the passage of the ADA, accommodations were made such as letting a vehicle be driven where normally this was not allowed so that someone who could not walk to a location could see a view or join an activity.
Over the years, so much more has been accomplished to include and welcome people with disabilities to Florida State Parks. Wheelchair accessible parking spaces and restrooms, ramps, open captioned films, limitless playgrounds, interpretive displays with Braille and tactile components for people who are blind. The list could go on and on.
It is important to acknowledge these Florida Park Service accomplishments and also to acknowledge the hard work of volunteers and the generous financial support from individuals, foundations, businesses, and others that have made many large and small projects possible. Thank you!
Let us join with the Florida Park Service in its statewide, yearlong celebration of successes in making Florida State Parks accessible to people with disabilities. Over the next months, we will be featuring accessibility project success stories in our newsletter and on social media so stay in touch.
We will also be highlighting some of the amazing innovative products available now that give even more opportunity for individuals with disabilities to be in the outdoors with family and friends. Check them out at our Access for All Campaign webpage and help with a donation so as many people as possible can have a Florida State Park experience!