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Gazette Premium Content San Francisco-area park to upgrade disabled access

Associated Press Updated: March 17, 2014 at 7:45 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Bay Area's Golden Gate National Recreational Area soon will be providing upgraded access for the thousands of visitors each year who have vision and mobility disabilities.

The group Disability Rights Advocates announced in a statement Monday that it had reached a landmark settlement with the National Park Service.

The settlement provides increased wheelchair access at popular trails and beaches as well as Braille, audio and tactile orientation signs for visitors with visual impairments. Park staff and volunteers will also lead guided tours for guests with disabilities.

"People with disabilities for too long have been excluded from many of the experiences offered by national parks, experiences that many people cherish," said the group's executive director, Larry Paradis. "These range from watching a sunset from an ocean-side beach, to visiting the redwoods, to walking a trail through wilderness, to visiting historic structures."

Golden Gate National Recreational Area has also committed to spending $3 million on additional accessibility projects.

The park encompasses more than 75,000 acres and contains national landmarks including Alcatraz, the Marin Headlands and the Presidio.

It is the largest national park in an urban area and attracts more than 13 million visitors every year.

A message left for a spokeswoman for the recreational area on Monday afternoon was not immediately returned.

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