Accessibility of State Parks to be Reviewed

by Brian Wilson
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Lawmakers have directed the Iowa Natural Resources Commission to review how accessible state parks are to people with disabilities and recommend improvements. Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law at Big Creek State Park.

The bill passed the legislature unanimously. Representative Adam Zabner, a Democrat from Iowa City, made the proposal in January.

The new law directs the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to come up with a list of opportunities for persons with disabilities in state parks and public recreation areas and put that list on the department’s website.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources director Kayla Lyons says new construction projects at the parks over the past dozens years have met Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Over the past five years, engineering interns traveled to all state parks with D-N-R staff to audit accessibility issues.

The agency has purchased an electronic track chair that will help Big Creek visitors with limited mobility get around the park.

A grant from the Ford Motor Company’s Bronco Wild Fund paid for the track chair and a person named Jack used it to move from sidewalks to grassy areas and the beach after the bill signing ceremony. The legislature appropriated 250-thousand dollars to finance some of the fixes, including sidewalk and curb repairs, needed to make state park facilities more accessible to people with disabilities.

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