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Geospatial Analysis Center

Wheelchair Accessible Trails: mapping and symbology

Funded by Wheels on Trails Organization.
Stacey Stark (GAC), Nick Salo (Geography), Brody Sunderland (Geography)

In 2007, the Wheels on Trails Organization (WOT) collected trail data on several trails in the Duluth area. One of their goals is to raise money to repair or alter any trails that do not meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for accessibility. After the data was collected, the UMD GAC worked with the WOT organization to produce Wheelchair Accessibility maps of several nature trails around Duluth including the Bagley Nature Trail, Western Waterfront Trail, Hartley Nature area trails, and Congdon Park trails. The WOT’s second goal is to have these Wheelchair Accessibility maps displayed for use on each of the studied trails.

The Wheelchair Accessibility maps are designed to portray slopes of varying degrees; a 5% slope is accessible at all distances while a slope of 12.5% is only accessible for up to ten feet. Arrows of varying sizes were used to symbolize slope severity while arrow color (brown or red) represents whether or not the slope is accessible. In addition, the maps show the location of trail obstructions, such as staircases and large rocks, which limit the ability of a wheelchair to pass. The maps also show ‘Caution areas’ such as a bridge without three inch rails to prevent falling.

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