Unpaved road winds through a forest ablaze with fall color in Wisconsin.
Stone’s Pocket Road Baxter’s Hollow Preserve: Autumn is a lovely time for a visit to Baxter’s Hollow Preserve in the Baraboo Hills to enjoy the Wisconsin fall color. ©: The Nature Conservancy

Stories in Wisconsin

ADA Accessibility at Wisconsin Nature Preserves

Getting outdoors is good for our health and wellbeing regardless of where we live, our age and social or economic status. One of our goals at The Nature Conservancy is to help connect people with nature. We want to make it possible for as many people as possible to visit our preserves and have an enjoyable time there.

We have completed an assessment of our nature preserves in Wisconsin in accordance with the Department of Justice’s amended regulation implementing Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding "Other Power‐Driven Mobility Devices” (OPDMDs). While some types of OPDMDs can be accommodated at Conservancy preserves, there are necessary restrictions on their use.

Please scroll down for a link to a document that describes OPDMD use at Nature Conservancy preserves in Wisconsin and provides maps.

OPDMD USE GUIDELINES

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations address the use of wheelchairs and “Other Power Driven Mobility Devices” (OPDMDs) by persons with mobility disabilities. These rules apply to “public accommodations” which include Nature Conservancy (TNC) properties that are open to the public. The regulations provide that with regard to “public accommodations” persons with mobility disabilities are entitled to:

  • Use wheelchairs and manually-powered mobility aids (canes, walkers, etc.) in areas that are open to pedestrian use. A “wheelchair” includes a manually-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability for the main purpose of indoor or both indoor and outdoor locomotion.
  • Use OPDMDs if the landowner can make “reasonable modifications to its practices to accommodate them.”

Those preserves that we feel are most well-suited to a quality nature experiences for those visitors who need to use OPDMDs for mobility are listed in the document at the link below. On those properties where OPDMDs are permitted, please note that there are use guidelines as outlined here:

  • The maximum speed limit on all preserves is 5 mph.
  • All OPDMDs must be cleaned prior to visitation to ensure there is no mud or other material attached to the OPDMD to ensure that invasive weed seeds are not inadvertently transported to the preserve.
  • Be aware that most of our preserves have other visitation guidelines about use and visitation which must be adhered to. We encourage all visitors to seek preserve information on the web.
  • Be aware that some preserves may be used by staff, contractors and researchers who may be using OPDMDs but that, in general, OPDMD use at preserves is not allowed by the general public.
  • A person using an OPDMD on TNC property may be asked to provide credible assurance that the OPDMD is required because of the person’s disability. TNC will accept the presentation of a valid, state-issued, disability parking placard or card, or other state-issued proof of disability as a credible assurance that the use of the OPDMD is for the person’s mobility disability. In lieu of such evidence, TNC shall accept as a credible assurance a verbal representation, not contradicted by observable fact, that the OPDMD is being used for a mobility disability. A “valid” disability placard or card is one that is presented by the person to whom it was issued and is otherwise in compliance with the State of issuance’s requirements for disability placards or cards. TNC does not accept responsibility for storage of OPDMDs.
  • TNC does not accept liability for damage to OPDMDs or injury to the operator, whether caused by the operator, another visitor to the property, or any other circumstance.
  • The person operating the OPDMD cannot carry another person or object that would cause the OPDMD to tip or become unstable or cause harm to the driver or others on the trail.
  • TNC does not accept liability for damage caused by the operator of the OPDMD or injury to others caused by the operator of such device.
  • TNC reserves the right to suspend the use of OPDMDs or change, modify or amend its OPDMD policies at any time.
  • TNC does not represent that the TNC property is safe for use by an OPDMD. Certain risks are inherent in the use of natural areas, including rough surfaces and features such as snow, mud, vegetation, tree roots, and water crossings; all users must exercise reasonable care and judgment.

You can find a list of our preserves in Wisconsin where OPDMDs can be used. We hope you will take the opportunity sometime soon to visit a Nature Conservancy preserve near you.