The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Montgomery Parks and the Montgomery County Department of Recreation are working to improve the accessibility of recreation facilities, programs, and services throughout the County.

Program Access

What is Program Access?

Program Access, also referred to as “Inclusion”, within the Montgomery County Department of Parks is how individuals with disabilities are welcome to participate in recreational programs and activities of their choice.  Reasonable modifications (also known as accommodations) are provided to enable an individual’s successful participation in a program.  Minimum eligibility requirements (age, level of participation) must be met to participate.

What are the minimum requirements for success?

Minimum requirements apply to all persons with all abilities.  These include:

  • Age and registration requirements: patron must meet the age/registration requirements of the program.
  • Following the rules of conduct (with or without reasonable modifications).
  • Voluntary participation: recreation programs and activities are voluntary in nature. Participation will be encouraged and aided, but not forced.
  • Level of participation:  with or without reasonable modifications, the participant must be engaged in scheduled activities for most of the program time.
  • Consistent form of communication: to indicate basic needs and follow simple directions (verbal or non-verbal).
  • Ability to tolerate and function, with assistance, as a member of a larger social group (12 or more people).

What are some examples of reasonable modifications available to promote successful participation in a program?

  • Ongoing training provided for staff
  • An enhanced staff/participant ratio
  • Sign language interpretation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Adaptive activity equipment and/or supplies
  • Use of companions
  • Large print/Braille
  • Disability and Sensitivity training

What services are not included when providing program access?

Program Access does not include the following:

  • Provision of a separate area or alternate activities for a significant portion (more than 25%) of the scheduled program
  • Exception to minimum compliance with the program’s rules and regulations, with or without modifications, established for the safety of all program participants and staff
  • Hiring, selection, or guaranteed assignment of a specific staff member
  • Individualized therapy within a program
  • Provision and/or purchase of personal custom devices

However, support staff may be provided to enhance the existing recreation program by providing adaptations and/or behavioral interventions.

Is Program Access the right choice/experience for me/my child?

Observe the program first-hand and ask yourself…

  • Have you/your child shown an interest in the program activity or subject matter?
  • Are you (s/he) comfortable and able to function appropriately, with or without assistance, in various inclusive environments, such as malls, restaurants, parks (etc.)?
  • Does your (or your child’s) current activities or goals prepare you for an inclusive recreation experience? 

What is the process?

There is a simple process that must be performed when modifications are needed:

  • Patron browses through and chooses programs and classes offered by Montgomery Parks (M-NCPPC)
  • Patron makes formal request for an Americans with Disabilities (ADA) modification by contacting the Program Access office via e-mail or phone
  • The Program Access Specialist or Coordinator will follow up on request and contact the patron (usually by phone) to assess his or her needs
  • Once the modification is in place, the Program Access Specialist or Coordinator will notify the appropriate staff/supervisor before the program start date – all information is kept confidential and is on a need-to-know basis
  • Patron is welcomed into the program or class of his or her choice, along with the disability modification provided
  • Program Access Specialist or Coordinator evaluates the disability modifications provided, on-going

Accessibility and Non-Discrimination in M-NCPPC Programs and Services

Notice 15-01 provides patron guidance for requesting modifications and addressing accessibility concerns for programs and services offered within the respective departments.  Components covered are:

  • Notice under the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Service Animals for People with Disabilities
  • Electronic Personal Assistive Mobility Devices
  • Accessible Seating under the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Grievance Procedure under the Americans with Disabilities Act


Multi-Year Plan to Improve Accessibility


M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the Montgomery County Department of General Services are developing a multi-year plan to enhance accessibility at recreational facilities and parks throughout the County. These efforts coincide with revised Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations for state and local governments (issued by The U.S. Department of Justice) that went into effect in March 2012. These regulations will impact parks, playgrounds, ball fields, picnic areas and other amenities operated by M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks as well as swimming pools, recreation centers, whirlpools, saunas and exercise rooms operated by the Recreation Department. The first steps in developing the multi-year plan include conducting a phased analysis of parks and recreation facilities, and simultaneously conducting public outreach to solicit input, comments and suggestions regarding our approach and priorities.


2016 Completed Projects


Scheduled Start Date /Completion Date

Scheduled Work


Pleasant View LP Improve trail/sidewalk and provide better accessibility to soccer/football field, provide minor stormwater management upgrades. Completed
Potomac Community NP Provide accessibility improvements to the tennis courts and basketball courts as well playground. Completed
Wheaton Regional Park

(at Train Station)

Parking and access upgrades near the train station as well as an expanded patio area in front of the drop off/unloading area. Completed
Damascus Regional Park Removal/replacement and upgrades of restrooms at Shelters A and C, plus parking and accessibility improvements at shelter A. Completed
Olney Manor Recreational Park Replaced accessible parking spaces near Racquetball building and volley ball court. Added accessible route to Tennis Battery A, B & C, Racquetball building, handball courts, and volleyball court. Removal and replacement of existing concrete pad at entrance and around lower tennis court T. Completed
Sligo Creek SVU3 (near golf course) Provide accessible parking and access to bleachers and field, resurface and stripe parking lot. Completed
Ridge Road Recreational Park Provide new accessible parking near the restroom and soccer/football field. Completed
Plumgar LP Playground renovation; remove backstop and barriers at play field. Completed
Ayrlawn LP Parking upgrades and access to Field #2

Access and parking upgrades to provide access to tennis courts and playground and YMCA.

Aberdeen LP Parking lot resurfacing and trail overlay. Provide accessible parking spaces, new route to playground, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball court and football field. Completed
Meadowside Nature Center Install new decking and patio in the raptor area Completed
Ken Gar Palisades LP Trail repaving, new accessible parking, access to tennis courts and exercise stations. Completed
Clear Spring LP Parking and walkway upgrades, access to soccer field softball field. Completed
Martin Luther King Recreation Park Install new exercise equipment as well as associated parking and walkway improvements. Upgrade parking, access, seating areas, bleachers at the baseball field. Completed

2017 Projects


Scheduled Start Date /Completion Date

Scheduled Work


Rock Creek Stream Valley Park Three (3) new accessible exercise stations along Beach Drive. Substantially complete. Completed
Wall Local Park Four (4) new accessible exercise stations along trail. Two (2) new accessible picnic table near playground Completed
Black Hill Reg. Park Summer 2017 – Spring 2018 Boat house renovation. An accessible boat house with parking and accessible walkway down to the beach. In design.

Construction to begin in Fall 2017

Brookside Nature Center Spring – Summer 2017 Replacement of the front entry ramps and stairs. Temporary interruptions may occur during construction. Construction in progress.
Cabin John Local Park Spring-Summer 2017 Provide accessibility upgrades at the softball field, add additional parking and walkways Construction to begin July 2017
Falls Road Local Park Summer 2017 – Trail renovation

– New accessible exercise station


Summer 2017

Forest Glen LP Summer/Fall 2017 Accessible parking and walkways to the basketball court and playground Construction in progress
Johnson LP Project deferred
Little Bennett Reg. Park, Campground Fall 2017 Part 1 – Provide an accessible parking space and route to proposed camp store at Hawk Reach Activity Center

Part 2 – Provide accessible walkway to newly built jumping pillow and pedal cart track.

Construction to begin July 2017
Meadowbrook LP Spring – Summer 2019 Various improvements at sports fields, parking areas. Possible park/field closures not determined. Preliminary design
Olney Manor Rec. Park Spring/Summer 2017 New accessible parking and access to Battery E tennis courts and walkway link to restroom Completed
Rock Creek Regional Park October – December 2017 Install a new parking area and accessibility improvements for the archery range. The archery range may be temporarily closed at certain times during construction In design
South Germantown Recreational Park Fall 2017 Install new exercise equipment stations and perform minor trail upgrades within/near the lake. No interruptions to services are expected Design completed. Construction scheduled for Fall/Winter 2017
Stratton Local Park April – August 2017 New parking, walkways, access to softball field, tennis and basketball courts, stormwater management. Park will be closed during construction Construction in progress
Takoma-Piney Branch Local Park Spring 2017 Install new walkway to softball field and new player’s benches. Park to remain open Construction in progress
Wheaton Regional Park Summer 2017 Reconstruction of the restroom at Athletic Area. Removal of Layhill Phoenix, Wooden Totem Pole for renovations and preservations. Preliminary design completed
Indian Spring Terrace Local Park Fall/Winter 2017 Upgrade and extend accessible walkways to link parking to soccer fields, parking, PAB, basketball court. Preliminary design

2018 Projects


Scheduled Start Date /Completion Date

Scheduled Work


Ray’s Meadow Spring 2018 Install accessible ramp and parking spaces, upgrade access to softball and soccer field In design
Longwood Local Park Spring 2018 Provide accessible parking spaces, upgrades to improve access to the courts, play area In preliminary design
South Germantown Recreational Park Fall 2017/ Summer 2018 Various projects to improve accessibility to the picnic shelters, athletic fields, rest rooms, and several athletic fields. In preliminary design
Cabin John Regional Park Winter 2018/ Summer 2018 Parking and accessibility upgrades at Field 4. TBD
Brookside Gardens Spring 2018/ Winter 2018 Removal of old ramps and install of new ramping system in the formal garden area. TBD
Wheaton Regional Park Winter 2017/ Winter 2018 New restroom building in the athletic area In procurement


Tell Us What You Think

Ideas from the public are welcome. We need your help to make our park system accessible to people with all abilities.

  • Public Survey. Please take this 5-8 minute survey regarding accessibility concerns and improvements at Montgomery Parks
  • Email to ADA project manager or call 301-650-2885
Last Updated: August 14, 2017