Nature Access to All

Accessibility check-list for nature trails is now available

We have developed with partners from Latvia and Finland an Accessibility Check-list for Nature Trails, which lists the key criteria to determine the compliance of the trail with accessibility requirements.

The Check-list (CL) summarises the most important questions, grouped under several sections, to assess whether the nature trail, its amenities and related infrastructure are accessible to people with movement, visual, hearing and cognitive impairment, seniors, parents travelling with baby-strollers etc. The CL also provides for the recommended values and limits, such as the minimum width of the trail, the maximum slope etc.

We hope that the CL shall serve as a handy guide to all trail administrators (municipalities, nature protected areas’ administrations, private owners etc.) in order to determine the trail’s compliance with the minimum recommended accessibility requirements, as well as facilitate further work on adaptation of trails, by identifying the weak points and stimulating a step by step adjustment of the trail infrastructure.

New website for accessible nature sites in Estonia, Latvia and Finland

Within the framework of the NatAc project, the accessible nature trails of Latvia were get acquainted

The two-day workshop at the end of July 2021 took representatives of people with special needs to get acquainted with the accessible nature trails in Latvia.

The workshop included a visit to Liepāja Beach Park and the accessible beach area. E.g. there are free beach wheelchairs for people with reduced mobility in Liepāja.

Representatives of disabled people from Saaremaa and Pärnu, as well as a representative of the NGO Accessibility Forum focusing on ensuring an accessible environment and the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People and the Ministry of Social Affairs got acquainted with the nature trails. Alise Luse, the project manager of the Kurzeme planning area, was presenting the trails on site.

Accessibility Day brought together people with special needs

On August 14, 2021, a summer accessibility day took place in Pärnu. This time attention was paid to the accessibility of nature, i.e how to make natural objects more accessible to people with special needs.

The day took place in three parts: a seminar on the accessibility of nature for people with special needs, a test of the senses and mobility in the field “Put your senses to the test” and a fun trip with the “Chest of Senses “educational tool developed within the accessible nature tourism project. The chest of senses is a kit designed to talk about nature and introduce children and adults alike to the biotic communities of forests, bogs and coastal areas.

Accessible natural trails and objects were introduced through a special tactile information stand, where through QR-code more information about fishing and recreation places that have been made accessible were provided.

Accessibility issues were discussed at the seminar in Pärnu

At the beginning of March 2020 in Pernova Nature House, the seminar “Accessible nature tourism – why and to whom?”, had almost 50 participants – including entrepreneurs, nature lovers and local government representatives.

In the first half of the day, introductory presentations of the project “Nature Access to All” took place and the theoretical and practical possibilities of developing accessible nature tourism were discussed. In the second half of the day, travelers with special needs shared their experiences and challenges in using nature tourism services. Jakob Rosin shared his thoughts from the perspective of the visually impaired, Tom Rüütel from the mobility impaired, Jari Pärgma from the hearing impaired and Liis Niinemets from the perspective of the mother of a special child.

The meaningful seminar day ended with exciting discussions in the tables, where answers were sought on how to overcome the obstacles to the development of accessible nature tourism.

Accessibility were improved in Haapsalu and Saaremaa

New accessible toilet for disabled people were open in Haapsalu Paralepa beach.  The toilet is open for the beginning of the 2020 summer season.

In Saaremaa, several fishing places were improved. From 2020 autumn, there are accessible fishing sites in Kuressaare and Roomassaare harbours, Salme, Nasva and on the bank of the Kalaaugu river in the Mullutu-Loode conservation area.

The fishing grounds received the necessary handrails to take into account the needs of people with special needs, wheelchair access, tables for storing fishing equipment and benches. A separate fishing platform was built in Roomassaare harbor, which was surrounded by a secure fence.

Study trip to Denmark

30/09-04/10/2019 Project study trip to Denmark took place to learn best practice in accessibility. On behalf of Lääne-Eesti Tourism, 10 people from Haapsalu, Lääne-Nigula, Lääneranna, Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and Pärnu municipality participated in the study trip. In addition, a representative of the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People also participated.

Matsi port parking lot completed

At the end of October 2019, the first activity for improving infrastructure was completed to facilitate the accessibility of nature tourism objects. In order to facilitate the accessibility of the recreation area of Matsi, a parking lot has been completed. The car park provides better access to the campfire site and rest areas for both wheelchair users and, for example, people with prams. In addition, it is planned to install a disabled toilet in the Matsi port area in the spring of 2020.

As part of the project, a disabled toilet will be completed on the Paralepa beach in Haapsalu in the spring of 2020.

Project Nature Access to all (NatAc) overview

Project objective – facilitating access to nature tourism by developing the chain of accessible nature tourism sites in Latvia, Estonia and Finland.

Target Group
– Local and foreign travellers;
– Tourism entrepreneurs and service providers;
– Local municipalities and nature parks;
– Non-governmental sector uniting people with disabilities.

Implementation period 01.05.2019 – 31.10.2021

Total budget is 965 773€, including funding of ERAF 762 932 €. NGO West-Estonia Tourism budget is 300 000€.

Tõiv Jõul, project manager, ph +372 5650 0727, toiv.joul(at)

Project activities in Estonia:
– Improvement of accessibility in Pärnu beach area (invatoilet, access to beach, 2 beach wheelchairs);
– Improvement of accessibility in Haapsalu Paralepa hiking trail and beach (invatoilet with electricity and washing possibility);– Improvement of access to Palivere Health Trail (trail, benches, infostands, audio-infostands, signs, waste-bins, closet);
– Improvement of access to Matsalu National park (wheelchairs);
– Improvement of access to Matsi resting area, port and beach (dry-closets, parking spots, tactile path);
– Improvement of access to fishing sites in Saaremaa (solutions will be worked out).

The Project is implemented by the Lead Partner – Kurzeme planning region in cooperation with 3 partners from Estonia and Finland:
– MTÜ Lääne-Eesti Turism (NGO West-Estonia Tourism);
Keskkonnaamet (Estonian Environmental Board);
Pärnu Linnavalitsus (Pärnu City Government);
– Metsähallitus (Parks & Wildlife Finland). 

Disclaimer: This website reflects the views of the author. The managing authority of the programme is not liable for how this information may be used.