Pella Chronicle

Local News

March 3, 2013

Handicap access allowed on trails

Pella — The majority of trails in the parks operated by Marion County and the US Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Red Rock are open to those who require medically-prescribed motorized carts.

Steve Edwards of Marion County Conservation is also Marion County's Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator. According to Edwards, the Department of Justice approved new rules on March 15, 2011, which allow certain “power-driven mobility devices (OPDMD)” to be used on trails by individuals with mobility disabilities. Assistant Operations Manager Josh Conrad, with the Corps, echoed this.

“We certainly don't restrict any,” Conrad said.

Under ADA Title II, the DOJ's ruling applies to state and local government lands. The ADA does not apply to federal lands, such as those controlled by the Corps.

OPDMD is defined as “any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel or other engines - whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities – that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, including golf carts, Segways, ATV's or any mobility device designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes, but that is not a wheelchair.” Anyone who has a mobility disability can use an OPDMD.

“This person may be asked to provide a 'credible assurance' that the mobility device is required because of the person's mobility,” Edwards said. “'Credible assurance' can be showing a valid, state-issued disability parking placard or card, or other state-issued proof of disability.”

If an individual lacks this assurance, he or she may say the device is being used due to a mobility disability. No one can be asked if he or she has a disability, nor can anyone be asked anything about a disability.

The Corps oversees the Volksweg Trail, which was built to be ADA compliant, as well as four earthen trails, located at Wallaschuck, North Overlook, Whitebreast and Howell Station. Medically-prescribed motorized devices are allowed on all of the Corps-operated trails.

“We currently allow OPDMD's, which must be operated at less than five miles per hour when in the presence of other trail users and at no time operated at greater than 10 miles per hour,” Edwards said of the trails overseen by Conservation. “All OPDMD's shall be operated in a safe and prudent manner.”

However, earthen trails controlled by Conservation are not open to OPDMD. Edwards said this is because the trails are not designed for them, and the restriction is to ensure the safety of the trail user and to prevent damage to natural and cultural resources.

According to Conrad, earthen trails operated by Corps get less use than the Volksweg Trail overall. He has seen some wheelchairs on these trails and has never had to respond to a report of someone getting stuck on them.

“We want people to get people out there, enjoying the trails,” Conrad said. He added that, to use a motorized vehicle on any trail, the vehicle must be medically prescribed. No mopeds, Segways, etc., are allowed.

“Our trail is not very wide,” Conrad said.

The DOJ performs an assessment of the trail system. Then, only approved OPDMD's may be used on the trail. People are not allowed to argue that they must use a certain vehicle, due to their specific disabilities.

“I believe structurally, the majority of the trails would be able to support motor vehicles, but they are not designed for motor vehicle traffic on a constant basis, but rather emergency and patrol vehicles on an infrequent basis,” Edwards said. Keeping motor vehicles off of designated “people power” trails is for safety. Some motor vehicles can be driven at high speeds and may pose dangers to people walking or biking.

“I think in general as resource managers, we need to try and meet the needs of physically challenged individuals whenever it is possible,” Edwards said.

Some of the older facilities controlled by the Corps are being retro-fitted to allow access for everyone. Conrad said the Corps is glad to do what it can to accommodate special needs. If you have questions regarding the Corps' special needs access areas or other issues related to trails, Conrad can be reached at 641-828-7522 extension 6421.


Text Only
Local News
  • Seusical 261.JPG Summer Fun for Families: Seussical the Musical

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 93.jpg Pella Community Calendar of Events

    June 25 - Aug. 2

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Republicans.jpg Republicans to hold events
    The Marion County Republicans are holding events in Knoxville and Pella Saturday, July 26. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fawn.jpg Marion County photo contest winners

    Winners of the 2014 Marion County Photo Contest were announced at the Marion County Fair. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Military Retiree Appreciation Day Aug. 28 near Pella A military Retiree Appreciation Day will be held Thursday, Aug. 28 at the Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino in Altoona, Iowa. Retirees from all branches of the armed forces and their family members are eligible to attend. The event will run from

    July 22, 2014

  • Logo for story Nurses flourish at PRHC with Pathway to Excellence Pella Regional Health Center has again achieved Pathway to Excellence® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The Pathway to Excellence recognition is earned by health care organizations nationwide that create work environments wh

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lake Red Rock Programs for July 25-30 There’s always something happening at Lake Red Rock! Check out these upcoming programs: July 25 - “Thief in the Night” - 7:00 p.m. - Howell Station CampgroundProblem: A critter of the night consistently raises havoc with backyard bird feeders. Action

    July 22, 2014

  • USDA's NRCS wetland compliance listening session set for July 28 USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will host a listening session on Monday, July 28, to seek comments on proposed changes to wetland compliance provisions. The session will be at Ankeny Fire Station #1, 120 NW Ash Drive, from 1 p.m.

    July 22, 2014

  • Pella Runway Rehabilitation Project continues along The Pella City Council, during last week’s meeting, approved a resolution, following a public hearing on the matter, for plans, specifications, form of contract, receiving bids, making award of contract to TK Concrete, and issuing notice to proceed a

    July 22, 2014

  • Photo contest winners named Winners of the 2014 Marion County Photo Contest were announced last week at the Marion County Fair. The annual Contest is sponsored by Marion County Extension & Outreach and the Marion County Development commission (MCDC). This year nearly 300 photos

    July 22, 2014

AP Video
Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide