Tex-essibility: An Analysis of Accessibility in Texas State Parks
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Parklands are a critical resource for a variety of people looking for recreation, entertainment, education, and even spiritual connections. It is thus vital that everyone has access to these resources and amenities. This in-depth analysis aims to identify the various levels of accessibility, in terms of physical mobility, throughout the Texas State Parks system in order to increase the enjoyment of visitors to the parks. To achieve the goal, the levels of mobility accessibility are defined and divided into four specific categories ranging from wheelchair accessible (under the Americans with Disabilities Act) to completely inaccessible to persons with mobility impairments. Then, the defined spaces within parks (trails, campgrounds, outlooks) are classified based on the established four levels. Using a case study of a park that is currently undergoing ADA/Accessibility assessment—Palo Duro Canyon State Park—this thesis will categorize a portion of the defined spaces using the data collected and the categories listed above. This examination and categorization will be the basis for proposed concepts that would increase visitor enjoyment, area access for persons with mobility impairments, and better connect people to nature within Texas State Parks.