outdoor constructed features

and outdoor developed areas assessment


constructed features

camping unit with amenities

outdoor recreation facilities

Beneficial Designs performs assessments of features in a number of outdoor recreation facilities, also known as outdoor developed areas. These areas include trails, picnic and camping facilities, viewing areas, and beach access routes. Design of these environments requires careful consideration of users of differing abilities to ensure access and enjoyment for all.

outdoor constructed features

Outdoor recreation facilities are comprised of outdoor constructed features. Such features include picnic tables, fire rings, grills, fireplaces, wood stoves, trash and recycling receptacles, water hydrants, utility and sewage hookups, outdoor rinsing showers, benches, and viewing scopes. These many components of the outdoor recreational environment can enhance or hinder user experience, based on design and user ability. Assessment of outdoor constructed features is essential for creating and maintaining a welcoming and safe environment for people of all abilities.

bear proof trash receptacle

federal requirements

Both the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Standards (2015) as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards (2010) provide guidelines for recreational facilities. The ABA Standards added an amendment in 2013 addressing additional outdoor developed areas, including guidelines for trails, picnic and camping facilities, viewing areas, and beach access routes, as well as the various outdoor constructed features that can be found in any of these environments.

The guidelines addressing these outdoor developed areas apply only to “federal agencies or non-federal entities on federal land on behalf of a federal agency pursuant to a concession contract, partnership agreement, or similar arrangement” (Outdoor Developed Areas: A Summary of Accessibility Standards for Federal Outdoor Developed Areas).


Non-federal agencies or entities are advised to follow the ABA guidelines for any new construction or alteration of outdoor developed areas for the following reasons:

  1. The Access Board intends to develop guidelines for non-federal outdoor sites. In the future, these guidelines will likely apply to state, local, and private entities. So get started now!
  2. Accessible design better serves users of all abilities and avoids discrimination based on disability. The ABA Standards, as well as the US Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines (FSORAG) and the Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG), represent accessible design best practice minimums for non-federal entities and the minimum requirements for federal entities. These guidelines should be taken into consideration for any newly constructed or altered facilities in order to ensure usability and enjoyment for all users. Maximizing access and exceeding accessibility standards is always encouraged.
  3. An accessible environment increases the number of visitors. Happy customers will return and may also provide free advertising. Creating an unfriendly and inaccessible environment to individuals with disabilities turns away entire families and groups of visitors from your facilities.

our services

Benefical Designs regularly assesses trails, campsites, picnic sites, and more. Our assessment methods cover all types of outdoor developed areas and outdoor constructed features. The Developed Outdoor Recreation Assessment Process (DORAP) streamlines assessment work, enabling fast and accurate data collection. Let us know how we can help.

feature assessment

click an image below for feature assessment in the following areas

click an image below for feature assessment in the following areas