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Old 12-10-2019, 11:37 AM   #1
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campgrounds, ADA

Me wife has a serious arthritis issue. She refuses to use a cane and falls down often. But, will not use a cane.

As a result we have a handicapped license plate.

Does this mean we can use the ADA campsites in parks? I feel a little funny about this as she is obviously not so badly handicapped as others. Should i be?

Do the campgrounds typically hold these available longer or is it just a first come first served situation?

Need some insights here.
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:48 AM   #2
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There's a difference between handicap accessible sites and handicap only (Wheelchair) sites. Some parks that we visit have about 90% of the sites handicap accessible but they're not handicap only. When we rent an accessible site it's stated that we may be asked to move if a handicap person needs to occupy the site, and I'm perfectly fine with that.

Having said that, since you have the plate you shouldn't feel bad about reserving a handicap site. I applaud you for having a conscience about it and you could always let the park attendants know that you'd be willing to give the site to a more restricted person if needed.
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Old 12-10-2019, 01:04 PM   #3
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we've seen campgrounds, mainly state or regional, that have ADA sites, and require that you 'prove' your handicap status at the time of the reservation.... most others we see have the marked handicapped sites, but don't limit anyone from reserving them...they are simply 'accessible' sites.

most of us would take the high road and leave these sites available to others, but there are certainly times when a park is close to full and there are no other options.

Most of the ADA or accessible sites we've seen are unused...

We've also seen several parks where the accessible sites have 120v electricity, or maybe are paved, while all the others do/are not, but generally the accessible sites are really no different, except maybe close to the restrooms, etc.

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Old 12-10-2019, 01:13 PM   #4
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When I see a handicap site occupied by a vehicle with handicap plate or windshield placard I never give it a second thought.

The only time I ever get irritated is at store parking lots when I see someone driving a vehicle into one of those spots then jumps out and practically sprints into the Store with nobody else in the vehicle (and no, they haven't dropped off someone first).

In our State the Dr's have a strict criteria for "prescribing" a handicap placard or permanent license plate and the State has cracked down severely. Big reason is that they grant free parking anywhere on streets where parking is metered.

I don't know how it works around the country when the handicapped individual isn't in the car. When my wife was alive she was given a placard but it could only be used when she was actually in the car with me (the driver).
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Old 12-10-2019, 01:34 PM   #5
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I also applaud you for being so thoughtful on this subject.

I haven't seen an ADA site yet (in state and National parks) that was absolutely held for handicap only. Usually its just suggested that you only reserve them if you have a genuine need, and that you may be asked to move if someone else needs it "more". Especially if that site is equipped with electricity in an otherwise no hook-up campground, because the electrical service is being offered to people who may need to run medical equipment.

By law, no business can make you "prove" a disability or extent of that disability, so generally a handicap plate or placard is adequate proof.

Types of amenities offered at ADA campsites can vary. Sometimes its just a site that happens to be located closer to restrooms, with a more level, sometimes paved, path from the site to the restrooms. The parking pad may or may not be paved, and electric may or may not be available.

All that being said, I'd go with making it your own judgement call. For instance, my mother had one leg, so it was generally easier for her to use the bathroom and shower in her own camper. So we would often not take an ADA designated site, just as a courtesy to others that may need it more, depending on the amenities. What times we did take a site, is if adequate water wasn't available to use her own shower, or if the campsites were horribly rough and uneven where she might be at a higher risk of tripping and falling.

So again, my thoughts would be to base it on each situation and your needs. What really irked me was to see people without any need just take the site because it was "nicer", or had electric that they would use for non-medical needs. Grrrrrr!

P.S. - The only time that I recall my mother ever having to show her handicap placard/plate was at a couple state parks in Florida so that she could be issued the key/combo to the handicap ONLY bathroom/shower facilities.
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Old 12-10-2019, 02:01 PM   #6
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Please remember not all handicap show symptoms on outside, spme are internal
And around here at least in State Parks, you cannot be asked about your disability or show proof. BUT if asked by police you must have your letter of disability available
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