New York State Parks Need Better Accessibility

Albany, NY (WNY News Now) – An audit conducted by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has revealed that numerous parks across the state lack accessible entrances, restrooms, and pathways for people with disabilities.

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (Parks) oversees over 250 parks and historic sites within New York State, with a focus on complying with ADA regulations. However, the recently released audit highlighted shortcomings in access for people with disabilities. While the ADA’s minimum standards were generally met, the audit identified numerous areas that could be upgraded to considerably enhance accessibility.

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli emphasized the importance of making New York State’s parks and historic sites inclusive for all residents. The audit underscored that Parks must more effectively integrate accessibility goals into its operational processes, improve communication with the public, and enhance responsiveness to concerns.

The audit highlighted disparities between online accessibility information and actual on-site conditions. Some parks had inaccurate accessibility information displayed online, while incorrect accessibility signage was present on-site. In response, parks officials pledged to enhance the accuracy of posted accessibility information.

Despite these challenges, the audit also noted positive steps taken by certain parks to improve accessibility. Some locations offered beach and pool access through wheelchairs and access mats, with prominent signage. Unique amenities were also featured, such as Midway State Park’s wheelchair-accessible playground and Letchworth State Park’s Autism Nature Trail equipped with sensory stations. The trail’s signage included Braille to further enhance accessibility.

For more information: Accessibility for People With Disabilities

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