Accessibility Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan

Overview

Executive Sumary

The park’s Accessibility Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan (SETP) includes findings from the self-evaluation process, as well as a plan for improving accessibility parkwide. The Accessibility Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan resulted from the work of an NPS interdisciplinary team, including planning, design, and construction professionals; and interpretive, resource, visitor safety, maintenance, and accessibility specialists. Site plans, photographs, and specific actions for identified park areas were developed. Associated time frames and implementation strategies were established to assist NPS park staff in scheduling and performing required actions and to document completed work. Park policies, practices, communication, and training needs were also addressed. The goals of the plan are to 1) document existing park barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities, 2) provide an effective approach for upgrading facilities, services, activities, and programs, and 3) instill a culture around creating universal access.
 

The following are the key park experiences and associated park areas addressed in the transition plan:

  1. Highly intact cultural landscape resources and remnant features - Arai Fish Ponds at Block 33, Baseball Field, Block 14 Barracks, Block 14 Mess Hall, Block 22, Garden, Block 34 Garden, Camouflage Net Factory, Cemetery and Monument, Children’s Village, Fire Department Area, Historic Administration Area, Historic Orchards, Hospital Complex, Judo Dojo Site, Merritt Park, North Park / Shepherds Ranch, Reservoir Site, and Visitor Center.
  2. Diverse mosaic of experiences and perspectives of the areas inhabitants - Arai Fish Ponds at Block 33, Baseball Field, Block 14 Barracks, Block 14 Mess Hall, Block 22, Garden, Block 34 Garden, Camouflage Net Factory, Cemetery and Monument, Children’s Village, Fire Department Area, Historic Administration Area, Historic Orchards, Hospital Complex, Judo Dojo Site, Merritt Park, North Park / Shepherds Ranch, Reservoir Site, and Visitor Center.
  3. History of incarceration during World War II and lessons on constitutional, civil, and human rights - Arai Fish Ponds at Block 33, Baseball Field, Block 14 Barracks, Block 14 Mess Hall, Block 22, Garden, Block 34 Garden, Cemetery and Monument, Children’s Village, Fire Department Area, Historic Administration Area, Historic Orchards, Hospital Complex, Judo Dojo Site, Merritt Park, Reservoir Site, and Visitor Center.
  4. Dramatic landscape of the Owens Valley surrounding Manzanar - Arai Fish Ponds at Block 33, Baseball Field, Block 14 Barracks, Block 14 Mess Hall, Block 22, Garden, Block 34 Garden, Camouflage Net Factory, Cemetery and Monument, Children’s Village, Fire Department Area, Historic Administration Area, Historic Orchards, Hospital Complex, Judo Dojo Site, Merritt Park, North Park / Shepherds Ranch, Reservoir Site, and Visitor Center

Overall, similar services, activities, and programs were found throughout park areas, as were assessment findings for physical and program accessibility.

 

Physical Accessibility

Recurring findings related to meeting physical accessibility requirements under the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards (ABAAS) were generally identified for parking areas, accessible paths of travel, outdoor recreation routes, and visitor information areas, such as kiosks, interpretive panels and waysides. These findings included surfaces that were not firm and stable, had minor obstructions, and had slopes that exceeded allowable standards. Some restroom features, including toilets, trash receptacles and dispensers did not meet required standards and require adjustment, modification or replacement. Some signage was also missing, had illegible content, or had insufficient information. Many benches did not provide the necessary clear ground space required for companion seating, or lacked armrests and backrests.

Other physical access issues where improvements are recommended include providing signed parking for oversize vehicles and RVs at the Visitor Center, upgrading tour route areas with appropriate signage detailing trail conditions, and providing level areas for accessible parking at sites along the driving tour. In addition, the Visitor Center Theatre Bookstore and Exhibits; and Block 14 Barracks and Mess Hall need minor modification in order to make services and activities more accessible at these sites. These improvements include ensuring that exhibits are cane detectable, merchandise is available within appropriate reach range and that counter space is provided at accessible heights.
 

Program Accessibility

Recurring findings related to meeting program accessibility requirements under ABAAS and the Harpers Ferry Center (HFC) Programmatic Accessibility Guidelines were generally identified for interpretive waysides and exhibits. Many waysides and interpretive panels throughout the park included font and contrast issues that require modifications to meet size and readability standards. In general, interpretive panels, waysides, publications, videos, tours did not have alternate formats in braille, large print, open captioning, or audio or electronic formats. Assistive listening devices were available for people with hearing loss for guided tours or special events. Audio description for ranger-led interpretive tours and self-guided tours that describe visual elements to persons with low or no vision were not available. Tactile models, maps and exhibits were found at the Visitor Center and Barracks, but were limited elsewhere. Areas along the tour routes would better serve visitors and increase accessibility by providing alternative formats.
 

Parkwide Accessibility

Some of the more noteworthy parkwide accessibility challenges that were discussed by the planning team during the self-evaluation and assessment process include: maintaining accessible features within the historic landscape, such as access routes on the historic road grid and within sites; making accessibility improvements to properties owned by the Bureau of Land Management, such as the Reservoir Site; providing programmatic accessibility of significant features, such as the Manzanar driving tour; and providing sign language interpretation in a small, remote park.

It is recommended that the park employ trained consultants to assist in determining how best to address accessibility improvements parkwide and to ensure that design and implementation of alternate format programs meet the needs of the intended audiences. Notify visitors through signage placed in appropriate locations and in park publications that alternative formats are available.

Creating parkwide accessibility requires staff awareness, understanding, and appropriate action. The assessment process served as a field training tool that increases staff knowledge and commitment toward embracing accessibility as a core park value. Continued training in physical and programmatic access requirements for all park staff, particularly those in maintenance and interpretation, is strongly advised.

Because of fiscal constraints and limited park resources, staff will need to determine which park area improvements will benefit the greatest numbers of park visitors with disabilities. Suggested implementation time frames and relative costs need to be factored into all accessibility investment decisions.

Manzanar National Historic Site strives to be inclusive and welcoming. The Visitor Center, Block 14 Barracks and Block 14 Mess Hall accommodate all visitors and provide conditions that help people with disabilities better enjoy the site. Accessible parking and routes are level, firm, and stable. Most buildings are accessible via ramps and provide accessible routes and clear turning space that require minor improvements. At the Visitor Center and Block 14, most exhibits are accessible, and several audio programs, assistive listening and tactile models are available. Most restrooms within the park are accessible; however, some small barriers are present, which require simple modifications or routine maintenance to resolve. Parking stalls and routes to sites and facilities are generally firm and stable, requiring some modifications to slopes and/or the surfaces. Park staff is aware of accessibility issues in their services, activities, and programs and are committed to making improvements that will accommodate a wider diversity of visitors.
 

Conclusion

Manzanar National Historic Site is committed to providing all visitors the opportunity to connect with and learn about the park’s unique natural, cultural, and recreational resources. Accessibility improvements identified in the Manzanar National Historic Site Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan will make it easier for individuals with cognitive, hearing, vision, and mobility disabilities to discover, understand, and enjoy the range of experiences available at the park. Implementation of the plan will ensure that Manzanar National Historic Site will continue to work toward accommodating all park visitors while sustaining its legacy to preserve and protect the unique cultural and natural resources, and human history of Manzanar and the Owens Valley.

The Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan for Manzanar National Historic Site is a living document intended to be used as a guiding reference for the park as it implements accessibility upgrades and documents accessibility accomplishments. As barriers to accessibility are removed and/or improved, the changes will be updated in this plan. The park will conduct periodic reviews to evaluate and update conditions to reflect accomplishments and to document new programs or other changes that occur over time. Revisions to the plan may include conducting additional assessments for areas not originally conducted as a part of this plan.

The primary goal of the transition plan is to define key park experiences and document modifications needed to provide independent program participation for the widest range of disabilities possible. As the park works towards its accessibility goals and makes the implementation strategy a reality, both physical and programmatic accessibility will improve across the breadth of key park experiences at Manzanar National Historic Site.

For visitors with mobility disabilities, access will be improved from the moment they enter the park. Facilities, as well as numerous programs, services, and activities the park offers will be more universally accessible. Experiences such as guided tours, picnicking with friends and family, educational programs, exploration of the site and learning about the human history and environment of the park, will be enhanced.

Park programs will be created and delivered for all visitors, including visitors with mild to severe disabilities impacting their mobility, vision, hearing, and/or cognitive abilities. Ranger led walks/talks, visitor center exhibits, films, trail waysides, and all materials that interpret park resources to the public will be provided in formats that allow visitors with disabilities to participate fully. Some of those formats include, but are not limited to: large-print transcripts for printer materials, audio description for exhibits and films, assistive listening devices and sign language interpreters for ranger-led tours and programs, T-coil hearing loops for park films.

Over time, the results of this collective effort will make Manzanar National Historic Site a truly welcoming and accommodating place for all visitors and will provide equal opportunity to access the many places, resources, stories, and experiences the park has to offer.

Last updated: August 2, 2017

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Mailing Address:

Manzanar National Historic Site
P.O. Box 426
5001 Highway 395

Independence, CA 93526

Phone:

(760) 878-2194 x3310

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