Attack of the Mutant BORs: How Bureaucrats Change Something Good into Something Bad!

Attack of the Mutant BORs: How Bureaucrats Change Something Good into Something Bad!

The Americans with Disabilities Act is one of those emotional hot-button issues that is hard to criticize without being considered mean-spirited. It can also be used as a club. The Bureau of Reclamation is painfully familiar with the law since several years ago they built a wheelchair ramp up to the Lake Berryessa Visitor Center only to discover that the ramp was too steep and had to be jack-hammered out and the concrete re-poured.

Reclamation used ADA non-compliance against Pensus in their recent contract termination notice. Although Pensus had made most of their campsites ADA-compliant, Reclamation cited them for not having specific sites designated as ADA sites. Reclamation is raising the Catch-22 Double Bind Theory to a new art form!

Reclamation Assertion: In Section 6 of the Noncompliance Letter, USBR raises numerous concerns with Pensus’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. ¤¤ 12101, et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines, 36 CFR Part 1191 (collectively, ADA). Among other things, USBR asserts that: (1) Pensus has provided no ADA compliant campsites; (2) the entrance stations, stores, parking at Chaparral Cove and Lupine Shores are non-compliant with the ADA; (3) restrooms at Chaparral Cove are non-compliant with the ADA; (4) courtesy docks at the launch ramps are not in compliance with the ADA; and (5) the 2012 IMP failed to provide accurate site plans for each facility showing the numbers, types, and locations of ADA compliant facilities.

Pensus Response: The Non-Compliance Letter represents the first time USBR has raised any concerns with PensusÕs compliance with the ADA and its implementing regulations. Reclamation presented no factual support for the allegation.  Pensus has provided factual information to Reclamation that camping sites are ADA compliant.

Reclamation lied to Pensus when it said it had received multiple complaints from the public regarding the ADA facilities. When Pensus asked for these complaints Reclamation admitted it did not receive any.


Our facilities are ADA compliant. All BBQs rings are 18 inches above ground as required by ADA – spec drawings were provided to Reclamation showing this before installation.  Pensus does not pre-establish ADA sites and force disabled individuals to rent those sites.


We allow disabled individuals to select their site of choice and then set up the site with ADA requirements such as table extensions and ADA rated porta-potties. Plywood table overlay extensions were available on request during 2011.


For season 2012 sleeved extensions will be available.v By providing table extensions and moving ADA compliant restrooms Pensus has provide disabled individuals with free choice of site selection rather than forcing them to specific locations.


In order to save disabled people from having to unload and open their wheelchairs, get out of their vehicle and into their wheelchairs, wheel themselves to the stores to buy whatever they need, then have to return to their vehicle, load their merchandise into their cars, get into their cars and reload their wheelchairs into their vehicles, Pensus staff greet all disabled guests in their vehicles.


Pensus staff asks all disabled guests to inform Pensus staff of any stocked items they may need and Pensus staff will ÔimmediatelyÕ bring requested merchandise to their vehicles. Additionally  Pensus staff provide their cell phone numbers to disables guests so they may contact staff, at any time during open hours, to place an order for any stocked items needed for delivery to their campsite. This significantly exceeds any ADA legal requirement for service or accessibility requirements.

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