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Authors guide disabled through parks


Wendy Roth and Michael Tompane drove 32,000 miles and visited 41 states to research "Easy Access to National Parks: The Sierra Club Guide for People with Disabilities," being published this month by Sierra Club Books.

The authors went to 37 national parks, plus national historical parks, monuments and parkways, to research the book, which is designed primarily for people with disabilities, but may also be useful for the elderly and families with small children.

The book contains specific information about the accessibility of individual facilities within the parks -- whether a trail is paved, for example, or a restroom can be reached by a visitor using a wheelchair.

Among the 15 parks that merit full descriptions because of their accessibility, regional significance and scenic beauty are Acadia National Park in Maine, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, the Everglades National Park in Florida, the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Olympic National Park in Washington and Yosemite National Park in California. There are shorter sections on 50 parks.

In the book, the authors expressed disappointment at the limited access at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and Grand Canyon National Park in Colorado, two of the country's most popular parks.

The paperback book costs $16 and is available at bookstores or by direct mail ($3 postage and handling) from Sierra Club Store Orders, 730 Polk St., San Francisco, Calif. 94109; (415) 923-5600.

The authors have also made a 28-minute VHS closed-captioned video, "Easy Access National Parks," containing highlights of nine parks from the viewpoint of visitors with disabilities, including an Everglades trail interpreted with an audio cassette for blind visitors and a wildflower walk sign-interpreted for deaf visitors at Shenandoah National Park. It costs $19.95, plus $4.50 shipping, from Questar Video at (800) 633-5633.

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