The following is the fourth in a series of guides to accesibility of nearby National Park Service areas for handicapped visitors.
It is taken from a new National Park Service handbook called "Access National Parks, A Guide for Handicapped Visitors," which gives information about places where obstacles to full accessibility have been eliminated and where they still exist in almost 300 areas of the National Park system.
Sewall-Belmont House National Historic Site - The red brick house at 144 Constitution Ave. NE is one of the oldest homes on Capitol Hill. It has been the National Women's Party headquarters since 1929 and is open to the public throughout the year. It has no public restroms. Entry and access to upper floors and to the library is by steep flights of steps. (202) 546-1210.
Anacostia Park - This 1200-acre municipal park overlooking the Anacostia River is accessible from four approaches: South Capital Street, the 11th Street bridges, Good Hope Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, following signs on each. The visitor center is the covered multiuse Anacostia Pavilion at the northern end of the park near the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance. Summer activities include arts and crafts, evening concerts, movies roller skating and wheelchair basketball games. Picnicking, tennis and swimming are among the outdoor activities. There are no paved sidewalks or reserved parking. The pavilion is accessible at ground level except for the skating rink, where access is by ramp. Fully accessible restrooms are in the pavilion. (202) 472-3869.
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park - The 184-mile canal follows the Potomac River from Georgetown to Cumberland Md. The canal and its parkland are in Maryland, the District of Columbia and West Virginia.
Park headquarters is four miles west of Sharpsburg, Md. (301-432-2231) on Maryland Highway 34. The visitor center at Great Falls Tavern. Md. (301-299-3613) hs accessible, single-use restrooms and a curb ramp from the parking lot. Access to the Foundry Mall center (202-337-6652) in Georgetown. between 30th and Thomas Jefferson streets, is impeded by many steps.
Most approaches to the canal are accessible, and most footbridges across the canal are wide enough for wheelchairs. Once on the towpath, visitors in wheelchairs will be able to travel in most sections in good weather. The towpath is level between locks, then rises eight feet to the next level at each lock. At several places acessible by car, the footing is fairly firm and level.
Three drive-in camps for tent and trailer camping are available for visitors with mobility diffficulties. They are at McCoys Ferry. near Clear Spring, Md.; Spring Gap, near Cumberland, Md., and Fifteen Mile Creek at Little Orleans. The fishing platform above lock 70 at Oldtown, Md., was built to accommodate visitors in wheelchairs.
Great Falls Tavern, built in 1830, now a museum, has a small audiovisual program. Special tours for handicapped visitors are offered at the park headquarters. Arrangements should be made in advance.
Fort Washington Park - This early 19th century fort on the Maryland side of the Potomac was built to protect the Capital City. "Living history" demonstrations can be reached by using Exit 37 south from the Capital Beltway (1-495) onto Maryland Highway 210 (Indian Head Highway) to Fort Washington Road. The fort is two miles inside the park form Fort Washington Road.
A steep, paved walkway and ramp lead to the entry gate, but the cobblestone threshold makes entry difficult. All other walkways are of hard-packed gravel, but uneven grading of the parade ground may present difficulties. Guided tours by interpreters (in period dress) and push-button audiovisual stations are available at the fort. Many pleasant vistas can be seen by car, and picnics areas are accessible throughout the park on level ground and grass. Portable accessible restrooms are available near the maintenance facility to the left as visitors enter the park. (301) 292-2112.