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Disabled people in national parks

Ng, Sek San
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::160402 Recreation, Leisure and Tourism Geography , ANZSRC::120107 Landscape Architecture
Recreation out-of-doors offers a broad range of opportunities and experiences that enhance our lives. People with disabilities have the same needs and desires for these opportunities as non disabled persons. Participation in outdoor activities can give the disabled person great enjoyment and help them to strengthen their independence and self direction. It is clearly evident, however, that great numbers of disabled persons are not receiving the benefits of the nation's recreational resources. The severity of their disabilities, architectural barriers, non acceptance by society, and slowness of the recreation profession to adjust its programme and facilities to their needs have all contributed to a serious lack of opportunity. Although we have come a long way in accepting and caring for the disabled, especially with regard to treatment, education and rehabilitation, there is much left that should be done in the field of outdoor recreation. By making outdoor programs and facilities available to disabled people, they can be prevented from being "recreationally disabled". This study looks at the national parks of New Zealand and their potential for outdoor recreation for the disabled. There are 10 national parks in New Zealand, covering features from golden seashores to sky-scraping mountains, from temperate rain forest to parched deserts. The role of national parks is first and foremost to preserve such areas of natural beauty but just as importantly, they should be accessible to all people including the disabled to enjoy and appreciate. The objectives of this study is set out as follows: 1. To examine the recreational abilities of disabled people with particular reference to the locomotive and manipulative types of disability. 2. To outline the recreational opportunities for the disabled provided in New Zealand's national parks with particular reference to the west Coast. 3. To consider the potentials which exist for a more integrated and extensive provision of access for the disabled in national parks. 4. To provide guidelines for more sensitive design in national parks to cater for disabled people.
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