The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Regional

July 20, 2012

National Forests in North Carolina receive award for accessible fishing opportunities

Friday, July 20, 2012 — ASHEVILLE – The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina are the recipient of a national award for making fishing opportunities available to all visitors.

Recently, the U.S Forest Service announced that the National Forests in North Carolina were one of five National Honorees for Accessibility Accomplish-ments.

The Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie, and Croatan National Forests make up the National Forests in North Carolina.

“For more than 20 years, the National Forests in North Carolina and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission worked to provide anglers of all abilities with the opportunity to fish on public lands,” said Kristin Bail, forest supervisor of the National Forests in North Carolina.

“During this time, forest and district biologists, engineers, landscape architects and recreation proponents collaborated to create a comprehensive network of accessible fishing opportunities across a variety of waterways.”

Through careful planning, design and construction, often in partnership with North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission, 20 accessible fishing facilities have been constructed in the four national forests in North Carolina.

The facilities provide opportunities that include coastal fishing in streams, warm water fishing in reservoirs and small ponds, and cold water angling in streams and rivers, including some premiere trout fishing destinations.

A complete list of accessible fishing piers is available at www.fs.usda.gov/ activity/nfsnc/recreation/fishing.

Cantilevered fishing pier designs have been refined over the years and have been adopted for use by the Wildlife Resources Commission throughout the state.

Site-specific design has provided accessible parking and routes to these water-based sites. Most of the fishing piers include areas for both seated and standing fishing.

In addition, recent piers have incorporated a metal mesh water-viewing component into a portion of the pier’s flooring.

Since the enactment of the Forest Service’s 1993 universal design policy, the highest accessibility standard of any federal agency, all new or altered Forest Service outdoor recreation facilities are required to comply with the provisions of the policy.

The Forest Service is the only entity with legally mandated accessibility guidelines for developed outdoor recreation sites and so the agency exceeds the minimum requirements of the federal accessibility guidelines.

Barrier free design benefits all visitors.

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