The following is the eighth and final article on accessibility 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 on 300 areas in the National Park system where obstacles to full accessibility have been eliminated and where they still exist.
Prince William Forest Park - Park headquarters is on the main park road, 1 1/4 miles from Rte. 619, about 32 miles south of Washington off I-395, near the Quantico Marine Base. The main information center is at the nature center, three miles farther into the park. The visitor center is fully accessible: the nearby parking area is paved, has designated spaces and a ramp over the curb. Fully accessible restrooms are available in the adjacent campground. Some of the artifacts can be handled.
Happyland - Cabin Camp 5, one of three types of camping areas in the park, is reserved for groups of at least 50 handicapped visitors during the summer. It has fully accessible restrooms, dormitories and a side door ramp leading to the dining area.
Turkey Run tent camping area is reserved for groups of at least 10 visitors. There are accessible restrooms with entry ramps. The Oak Ridge campground with accessible rooms, is available for individual campers. Camping arangements must be made in advance. Some trails are negoitable without problems. Visitors should check at the nature center for maps and information about accessible trails (703) 221-7181.
Shenandoah National Park - Skyline Drive winds for 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Luray, Va. The Dickey Ridge and Big Meadows visitor centers, all restaurants, amphitheaters and some lodge units are accessible. The park is open all year. Visitors in wheelchairs are advised to make reservations for the accessible lodging units. All visitor parking lots provide curb ramps. Restrooms at Matthews Arm, Big Meadows and Loft Mountain campgrounds are fully accessible for visitors in wheelchairs. Other restroom doors are up to 29 inches wide.
Exhibits and audiovisual programs are offered in each of the visitor centers.Skyline Drive has 75 parking overlooks, 40 of which have interpretive signs readable from a car. All the overlook parking areas are fully accessible (703) 999-2242.
Harpers Ferry National Histrical Park - This "living history" area at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers in the Blue Ridge Mountains was the site of John Brown's raid in 1859. The visitor center is less than a mile from U.S. 340, after a right turn beyond the bridge over the Shenandoah River.
Visitors in wheelchairs may park in the bus parking lot, where a paved path leads to an information kiosk on the same side of the street. Assistance is needed over the 10-inch step at the entry of the visitor center and over the one-step entry to each of the 11 open buildings in the historic area. There are no adequate or accessible restrooms in the park for visitors in wheelchairs. Most of the overlooks are on steep trails and access is difficult, but some, including Bolivar Heights, are accessible by car. (304) 535-6371.