Nature: Accessible for All
Improving access to nature and outdoor recreation for people with disabilities
The Inclusive Healthy Communities (IHC) program is proud to support Nature: Accessible for All, an innovative initiative to enhance access to public open spaces for people with disabilities.
Spearheaded by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA), in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Disability Services, the Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Duke Farms, Gathering Ground, and other organizations, this initiative seeks to break down barriers and ensure that individuals of all abilities can enjoy New Jersey’s beautiful natural areas.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 21% of New Jersey adults have some type of disability. Adults with disabilities are more likely to have depression, diabetes, or other health problems. A summary of research prepared by IHC points to the physical and mental health benefits of access to nature and outdoor recreation. Find the summary here:
The Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA) utilized IHC funding to launch its Pinelands Is for Everyone initiative to make public open spaces in the region more accessible for individuals with disabilities. View the video above to learn more.
PPA is now taking the effort statewide. The campaign – known as Nature: Accessible for All – involves a broad-based coalition of organizations engaged in disability rights, public policy, and natural lands management.
IHC has supported Rutgers University’s development of a data tool that allows end users to generate a “snapshot” of disability in their community at the municipal and county levels. This tool can be helpful to end users to better understand disability in their communities. Find the tool here:
As part of the new statewide effort, the team has engaged people with disabilities to better understand challenges and opportunities associated with expanding access to nature and outdoor recreation and conducted research on best practices and regulatory challenges to expanding access. These efforts have been undertaken with financial support from the New Jersey State Policy Lab and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Coastal Management Program.
Find summaries of work supported by the New Jersey State Policy Lab here:
Find summaries of work supported by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection here: