Friday, August 14, 2015

Book on ADA Access

A book was recently published on barrier-free travel in Olympic and Mt. Rainier National Parks, see information. The book is a good overview of the ADA compliance by the National Park Service in those National Parks. The goal here is a review of the book as while I found the specific information about ADA access accurate, I found the general to be inaccurate or incomplete and a lack of additional resources for current information.

The book covers two National Park, but I'll focus on the chapters on Mt. Rainier NP, specifically by section and page. The first is a semantic difference since I'm a geographer. On page 43, 2nd paragraph, it should be noted Mt. Rainier NP doesn't a southwest side, it has a south or west side (boundary) and a southwest quadrant, corner or area.

On the same page under "The Basics", the section on "Seasons and Road conditions" is incorrect, misleading or incomplete. The NPS for Mt Rainier NP has a Twitter Account where they report current weather, road and other conditions in the NP which effects travellers and visitors. It's more current and quicker than any telephone number will provide.

With respect to the Longmire to Paradise road, from November to May the road is closed nightly at 4-5 PM (always, not "usually" in the book) just east of Longmire and does not reopen until about 9-11 am the following morning after checking the roads and clearing any snow. They report this information via their Twitter account.

More importantly the Sunrise road (White River campground to Sunrise) closes every fall for the whole winter, until the following spring. The NPS shutters their facilities and operations at Sunrise a week or two earlier and then closes the road with the first significant snowfall.

The information on the facilities and campgrounds are good and complete for the different areas in the NP. The point she doesn't make is that the NP essentially closes everything but the Nisqually entrance, Longmire and Paradise in late fall through late spring, leaving just the one access and two areas for visitors.

The next is the Jackson Visitors Center, page 50. The old (1966-2008) Jackson Visitors Center was designed by two architecture companies, one in Hawaii. It was NOT designed and built for Hawaii, and relocated to Mt. Rainier NP as stated in the book. It was designed and built for Mt. Rainier as part of the Mission 66 program.

In addition the NPS built a brand new visitors Center, seen here, for Mt. Rainier, which opened in October 2008. Also, the Paradise Inn was closed in 2010 and re-opened in 2013 after a complete overhaul of the structure and refurbishing of the interior.

The information on the Jackson Visitors Center and Paradise Inn is easily available on Wikipedia and other sources, so I don't know how this was overlooked, but the author and/or editor(s) should have caught this for a book that was just published.

Anyway, overall, the book is a good resource, but I hope the author updates the information to make it a better book.

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