May 18, 2010
In Reply Refer To:
8332 (250) P
Information Bulletin No. 2010-076
To:                   All Washington Office and Field Officials
From:               Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:           Accessibility Laws and the Bureau of Land Management’s Responsibilities
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has a legal responsibility to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of visitors while using facilities on the national system of public lands, including the more than 54 million people in the U.S that have disabilities. The BLM must provide access to facilities and programs in a well-planned and implemented approach to consistently comply with accessibility laws and regulations.
The BLM is legally mandated by the Architectural Barriers Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and 43 CFR part 17 to provide accessibility to people with disabilities in its programs and facilities. The BLM is committed to provide the highest level of accessibility feasible and consistent with its mandate of multiple-use management.  
Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) ‑ This Act, passed in 1968, requires that all buildings and facilities constructed in whole or in part by Federal funds must be accessible to, and usable by, people who have disabilities. This includes any construction, renovation, restoration, remodeling, or site development completed by the agencies. The Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) have been the official standards for implementing the ABA. However, in November 2005 the General Services Administration (GSA), standard setting agency for the Department of the Interior (DOI), adopted the new Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards (ABAAS) as the official standards to follow for new construction and renovations. These standards become effective in May 2006.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ‑ Section 504 states that no person with a disability can be denied participation in federally funded or assisted programs, activities, or services just because that person has a disability and if he/she meets the qualifications to participate, and as long as that participation does not fundamentally alter the program, activity, or service.  DOI regulations for implementation of this law were issued in 1982 in 43 CFR part 17.
While the ABA requires physical access to facilities and the programs in those facilities, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requires barrier-free programming.
Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas- Guidelines are currently being finalized for accessible outdoor recreation areas. Draft Final Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas can be viewed at www.access-board.gov. These guidelines include trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and beaches. Standards for accessible boating and fishing facilities are included in the ABAAS. Once approved by the U.S. Access Board, the BLM and other Federal agencies will adopt these guidelines.
The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 - Except for the section that applies to Federal wilderness areas, the programs and facilities of Federal agencies are not governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ADA essentially extends to the private sector the rights and protections already prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in Federal government and federally assisted programs as mandated by the ABA and Section 504. Therefore, the ADA does not directly apply to the Federal government.  
“Reasonable Accommodation” – Reasonable Accommodation is an employee provision mandated under Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and not applicable to BLM visitors and facilities that are protected under the ADA. 
“Reasonable Accommodation” – United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) Part 373, Equal Opportunity – 15.1, pertains to federal employees under Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and is not applicable to BLM visitors and visitor facilities.   
Accessibility is a growing and sensitive issue. Impacts to visitors and resources coupled with the general public’s increasing awareness of accessibility is impetus to assess, plan, and upgrade our recreation facilities to meet all current laws and regulations.  
It is important that the BLM employees understand the laws that are required to correctly implement accessibility, while protecting the BLM’s number one priority, the resource. 
If you have any questions regarding the BLM’s accessibility program, please contact Troy L. Brown, National Accessibility Coordinator, National Recreation and Visitor Services Division, (WO-250) at 202-912-7298, or by e-mail at Troy_Brown@blm.gov. 
Signed by:                                                                  Authenticated by:
Richard Hanes                                                            Robert M. Williams
Acting, Assistant Director                                           Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
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