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Improving Usability for All Visitors

ANCA and the Inclusive Recreation Resource Center at SUNY Cortland (IRRC) recently released a guide to improving accessibility at destinations along three main tourism corridors in the North Country. Entitled "Improving Usability for All Visitors," this guide lays out 10 "tips" any establishment can use to improve its ability to provide inclusive and enjoyable experiences for visitors with disabilities. 

According to annual visitor surveys done by the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, the two main reasons visitors come to our area are to engage in outdoor activities and view our natural assets. To help make access to those assets more inclusive, ANCA and the IRRC are offering free webinar on April 28 from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm to further explain this resource and discuss accessibility issues throughout the region. To register for the webinar send an email to:  InclusiveRec@cortland.edu

This guide is the result of a multi-year collaboration between the two organizations to address the needs of visitors to the 

Adirondack North Country region who experience challenges in enjoying the same experiences as others due to mobility, vision or hearing impairments. Working in partnership through this and another ongoing project, team members performed assessments at more than 400 destinations, including The Wild Center in Tupper Lake and the Village of Lake George, in addition to heritage sites, recreation areas, and chamber of commerce offices in the North Country.

Assessment results can be found on the IRRC's website. Select Adirondack, Thousand Island, or Capitol Saratoga regions to view this project's assessment results. 

Lake George -  Making Inclusivity a Priority

Over the past several years, the Village of Lake George has improved physical access on multiple fronts. This work, according to long-time mayor Robe

rt Blais, has “uplifted” the Village’s image among travelers with impairments, and has “brought them back several times and has made us very ‘user-friendly’.”

Improvements to Physical Access to Lake George Amenities:

  • The number of handicapped parking spaces increased from 12 to 25
  • Parking meters near accessible spaces are clearly marked to help identify them
  • All Village streets have wheelchair ramps
  • Wheelchair accessible viewfinders are located throughout the lakeshore
  • Bench seating along walkways has open spots for wheelchairs
  • Permanent, stable beach access is available for mobility impaired visitors at Lake George Beach
  • Most businesses are ground entry or have ramps and curb cuts

With such important progress already made, the IRRC and ANCA worked with the Warren County Department of Tourism to revise visitor surveys and promotional materials to include “person-first” language.

Mayor Blais reports that the Village has benefited from a “very robust economy from visitors with disabilities” as a result of their inclusivity efforts. “Resorts that depend solely on visitors having an enjoyable experience must make certain that [their] venues... are totally accessible for people with disabilities.”

For more information, contact:

Jacob Vennie-Vollrath, Regional Advocacy Coordinator
jvennie-vollrath@adirondack.org
518-891-6200