Alabama State Parks Agree To Permit Motorized Vehicles For People With Disabilities
United States Attorney Kenyen R. Brown of the Southern District of Alabama and the State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Department) announced today that their offices have reached an agreement to permit people with mobility disabilities to use their motorized wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices on the roads in all state parks and recreation areas. Previously, state regulations did not specifically allow such devices on roads, even when no sidewalks or alternate routes existed for them. The Department enacted a new state regulation to ensure the rights of park visitors with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, see below.
This agreement resulted from a complaint filed with the U.S. Attorney’s Office by a paraplegic man who could not stay at the public campground at Alabama Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores because park personnel banned use of the golf cart he uses for mobility on roads in the park. This prohibition and the lack of sidewalks in the park meant he could not access the park’s attractions and amenities.
"Ensuring that Alabama’s beautiful parks and recreation areas are accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities, is a win-win result," said U.S. Attorney Kenyen R. Brown. "ADA compliant facilities aid the disabled and make our communities more welcoming and business friendly. We commend Commissioner Gunter Guy, Jr. for his commitment to seeing that Alabama’s Great Outdoors can be shared by all, regardless of disability."
The new regulation reads:
220-5-.04(10) Notwithstanding any provision above, individuals with a mobility disability may use any motorized vehicle or other power-driven mobility device to access the parks’ amenities as provided in and subject to the provisions of the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, and 28 C.F.R. § 35.137 (2014) [complete text of the regulation is attached].