Essential eligibility criteria for Universal Access Program participants

Find out about the skills that you need to participate in Universal Access Programs.

Table of Contents

Two cyclers ride side by side on the rail-trail. One using a recumbent cycle the other using a hand cycle.

Overview

The following Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC) help you understand the skills you need to participate in our programs. For safety and risk management considerations, everyone who attends our programs must meet these EEC. During the COVID-19 pandemic all programs will need to operate in accordance with directives from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and state guidance.  These updated EEC reflect additional requirements to meet safety protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can meet the EEC on your own, or with the help of a caregiver (a family member, friend, or PCA). Many pieces of equipment at our programs offer tandem seating, steering, and braking.

If you have concerns about your ability to meet the EEC, please speak with the organization leading the activity. If you have general questions or concerns about our EEC, please contact the Universal Access Program at (413) 545-5760 or DCR.UniversalAccess@mass.gov.

General criteria

DCR Universal Access Program 

Essential Eligibility Criteria for Program Participants 

The following Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC) help you understand the skills you need to participate in our programs. For safety and risk management considerations, everyone who attends our programs must meet these EEC. During the COVID-19 pandemic all programs will need to operate in accordance with directives from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and state guidance.  This updated EEC reflects additional requirements to meet safety protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

You can meet the EEC on your own, or with the help of a caregiver (a family member, friend, or PCA). Many pieces of equipment at our programs offer tandem seating, steering, and braking. 

If you have concerns about your ability to meet the EEC, please speak with the organization leading the activity. If you have general questions or concerns about our EEC, please contact the Universal Access Program at (413) 545-5353 or DCR.UniversalAccess@state.ma.us. 

General Criteria 

Everyone who attends our programs must be able to do the following, either independently or with the help of a caregiver (a family member, friend, or PCA): 

  • Schedule your session in advance – according to the requirements of the organization running the program. We will not be able to accommodate any program participants who have not pre-registered. 

  • Not attend a program if you have signs or symptoms of being sick, especially if you have a contagious condition. If you have a cold with coughing and sneezing, or a fever, or the flu, or lice, you have a contagious condition.  If you have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone in the past 14 days who has tested positive for COVID-19, follow CDC guidelines to determine whether it is safe to attend the program. Do not come to a program until you have cleared the number of days required to avoid contact with people at high risk for COVID. Use the CDC Quarantine and Isolation Calculator to figure out the correct number of days for you.
  • *Be willing and able to wear a facemask and practice social distancing if required by independent program operator at programs during pandemic. 

  • Use hand sanitizer or hand washing station upon arrival. 

  • Be able to get on and off equipment either independently or with help. Our staff can help you transfer. If you weigh more than 180 pounds, you must bring another person or equipment to help with the transfer. 

  • Have a charged cell phone with you. 

  • Arrive at the program location early enough to be ready and on time for scheduled sessions. 

  • *Be willing and able to refrain from wearing scented products while at programs. 

  • Come prepared for the weather and conditions of the day. This includes dressing for the elements and bringing your own sun and rain protection. It also includes bringing your own drinks and food. 

  • Be able to manage personal care. Personal care includes dressing, toileting, eating and drinking. Be willing to refrain from eating in the program base area. 

  • Be able to follow verbal or visual directions. 

  • Be able to tell program staff about your needs or if you are uncomfortable. 

  • Be able and willing to put on and wear properly fitted protective equipment, such as helmets and lifejackets.   

  • Respect the weight limit on equipment. Each piece of equipment has its own weight limit. You can’t use equipment if you weigh more than the limit. 

  • Be able to refrain from behaviors that pose a risk to yourself or others. These behaviors include aggression, an inability to set boundaries, a lack of safety awareness, and drug or alcohol use or influence. 

  • Be willing and able to obey the risk assessments and decisions of program leaders. 

  • Refrain from the use of smoking, vaping, or tobacco products while participating in the program. 

If you are attending as a parent, staff, or guardian: 

Meet all of the General EEC listed above, and those listed here

  • Be able to stay with the participant(s) you came with. 

  • Be able to participate in the activity to the extent of your personal ability and skill. 

  • Be willing and able to transfer your client or family member without assistance from program staff. 

If you are providing physical activity support: 

Meet all of the General EEC listed above, and those listed here

  • Be able to offer one-on-one support with your companion or client, as needed. 

  • Be able and willing to lift, pull, push, and perform the work needed for the weight of your companion or client, and the distance and terrain involved. 

 

 

Cycling

Meet all of the General EEC listed above, and those listed here: 

  • Be able and willing to wear a properly fitted helmet.  

  • Be able and willing to follow basic rules of safe riding on a rail trail with street crossings, with guidance if needed. For safe riding, you should move predictably and stay to the right, in single file with other cyclists. You should yield to pedestrians, and you should announce yourself when passing others. You should also stop at stop signs and be aware of vehicles at street crossings.  

  • Be able and willing to treat cycles, brakes, and shifters with care. 

  • Be able and willing to avoid trail hazards, with guidance if needed. 

  • Be willing to stay on the bike path within the limits of the program and park boundaries. 

  • Be able to tolerate moderate physical activity. 

  • Be able and willing to respect your limitations with regards to how far you plan to go. 

  • Be able to return your cycle on time. 

Hiking

Hiking: Gentle outing   

Meet all of the General EEC listed above, and those listed here: 

  • Be able to navigate easy to moderate terrain on selected trails. You can use approved adaptive equipment on the trail, such as crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs. Be able to provide information about personal equipment to be used prior to outing. 

Hiking: Rugged outing 

  • Meet all of the General EEC listed above, the Hiking: Gentle outing EEC listed above, and those listed here: 

  • Be able to navigate rugged terrain typical of hiking trails, for up to 3 miles at a slow to moderate pace. These trails often have rocks, roots, steep grades and cross slopes, and do not have ramps. You can use approved adaptive equipment on the trail. 

Paddling

  • Meet all of the General EEC listed above, and those listed here: 

  • Be able to breathe on your own without the use of medical devices to sustain breathing. 

  • Be comfortable with being wet and the possibility of being in the water in case of a capsize.  

  • Be able to stay near shore if instructed to do so, at a distance where you could get to shore independently or with the support of your caregiver in case of capsize.  

  • Be able and willing to wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device at all times while you are on the water. A lifejacket is a common type of personal flotation device. 

  • Be able to maintain a face-up position while you are in the water wearing a properly fitted personal flotation device. 

  • Be able to maintain an upright head position while you are in a boat. You can use a head support device or technique, if needed. 

  • Be able to sit in a balanced position in a kayak or canoe for up to 45 minutes. You may need to sit for longer if you are on a river trip or a longer program session. You can use approved modifications or help, if needed. 

  • Be able and willing to return equipment on time. 

 

Site Specific Paddling: Lake Quinsigamond, Connecticut River, Quabbin Reservoir 

  • Meet all of the General EEC listed above, the Paddling EEC listed above, and those listed here: 

  • Be able to tolerate moderate wave action from passing motorboats. 

Contact

Fax

(413) 545-5995

Address

PO Box 484
Amherst, MA 01004
Last updated: January 21, 2022
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