Sample of my writing

Written by Jason S. Planck 2011©

I have written a sample of my writing as requested. I did this travel guide to someday get published, and make a living at it. I believe that education about the needs of people with a disability is the best way to end discrimination. It will take a long time to get people to understand our needs, and not to pity us. The pity came from many centuries of where a disability was a sin, and needed to be hidden from the general public. Persons with a disability were seen as non-productive members of society during these times. So pity was the only way to survive in society. As part of the Civil Rights movements for persons with a disability, we are now asking that you not see our disability, but our ability to contribute to society. It will take a lot of time to educate the public about our needs and wants.

When I see travel guides to a location that they say are accessible, I have a sinking feeling. These travel guides don’t look it from a disability point of view. As such, some of their ideas of accessibility are not reliable. I also believe that loss of money to one’s business will be great motivator to get changes to meet our needs. According to a General Accounting Office report, hotels that make the changes to meet the needs of persons with a disability have seen an increase in revenues of 12 percent. Also many companies heavily advertise to the teen market, about a 67 billion dollar industry. The person with a disability has a spending power that doubles the teen market. Still most businesses don’t market to us. Despite the fact that people with a disability have the highest unemployment rate of over 69%, as much as four times that of the next lowest minority group. The US Census Bureau estimates that people with a disability have $220 billion dollars in discretionary income.

As you can see, education is the only answer at this time.

Thank you for time.

Respectfully Submitted;

Jason S. Planck


 Roosevelt Campobello International Park

New Brunswick, Canada                                                                                            Page 3

 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Washington, DC                                                                                                         Page 5

 President Franklin Roosevelt’s Little White House and Museum

Warm Springs, Georgia                                                                                               Page 7

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Presidential Library and Museum

Hyde Park, New York                                                                                                            Page 9


Four travel guides for persons with disabilities

1)  Roosevelt Campobello International Park

New Brunswick, Canada

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson established the Roosevelt Campobello International Park, on January 22, 1964, through an international agreement between the United States and Canada. This site is in Canada so anyone traveling with a service animal will need papers for proper vaccination and ownership. Check with customs before going over the border for the rules and regulations. As a side trip just before going over the FDR Memorial Bridge, stop by West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, the farthest east you can go in the United States. As you follow the sign there, look along the beachhead and depending the time of year you will see different types of shorebirds nesting or resting that you would not normally find on the beach or near the coastal waters. While there at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, a foghorn may go off at around 120 db. This site is semi accessible. There are no bathrooms, and only some solid ground to move around.

Once over the FDR Memorial Bridge, you gain an hour, which means you’re in Atlantic Time zone. Another side trip you can take is to turn left and follow the signs to Mulholland Point Park, where you can see the FDR Memorial Bridge, Lubec bay, and Mulholland Point Lighthouse. This site is semi accessible. There are no bathrooms, and only some solid ground to move around. Coming back to the main road, you will see the New Brunswick Visitor Center across the road. New Brunswick Visitor Center has accessible bathrooms, and more information about the area if needed.

The Roosevelt Campobello International Park’s Visitor Center does accept the U.S. Park Golden Access Passport, so the park admission is free. The Visitor Center has accessible bathrooms and accessible information about the Park, and the surrounding area.

The Visitor Center contains lots of information about the families of the Roosevelt’s, and how they acquired the property on Campobello Island. Campobello Island was where President Roosevelt had contracted the Polio virus, known as in those days as Infantile Paralysis. President Roosevelt in growing up sailed up and down the area of the bay during his summer visits to the island. President Roosevelt did many other activities while he was at Campobello Island: spotting birds, bicycling, playing tennis, swimming, hiking, and stamp collecting. President Roosevelt’s family and children had a great time while visiting the island, but when he got into politics, it would keep him away from visiting Campobello Island every summer. President Roosevelt had visits to Campobello Island four times during his Presidency. The Visitor Center shows a short film about the property and history of the Roosevelt family. By using LED News board tied to the film, the film was able to become closed caption.

After the film finishes, the tour begins across the lawn at the Roosevelt Cottage, and the accessible entrance is through the front door. Roosevelt Cottage’s first floor is accessible with some areas tight. The Park has pictures of the 2nd floor of Roosevelt Cottage at the Visitor Center, so people could see the whole house. Access down to the beach could be tricky due to the steepness of the paved path, but well worth the effort to see the bay up close. Also the park has many more different parts to the property, and walking trails that lead back to the Visitor Center.

Also you may take a drive along many of the nature roads that the park has to offer. Getting out in some areas would be difficult, but you will have to judge for yourself. You will be able to see a lot of different things just right from your vehicle. You also will travel through different types of hardwood and softwood forest, bogs, and scenic outlooks. Don’t pass up Eagle Hill Bog. It’s an accessible boardwalk to view the different types of vegetation and the bog itself. A Park Ranger is there to answer any question about Eagle Hill Bog. Bring a bottle of water to drink. There are no restrooms at this site.

East Quoddy Head Lighthouse is a beautiful site to see at the northern end of Campobello Island. The only problem is that it is not accessible for mobility impairments, nor is there any accessible parking. If you choose to go to the lighthouse at the end of the parking lot, turn left and follow the dirt pathway. At the end of it, turn right, and you will be able to see East Quoddy Head Lighthouse off to the far distance. The best time to visit is at low tide because you have to climb down stairs to cross the bay’s floor then back up the other side of the small island where the East Quoddy Head Lighthouse sits. If you have time, take a ferry ride over to Deer Island. You will be able to see the bay up close, and it’s the cheapest way to get a boat ride to see the bay. Once on Deer Island you have two different choices, both good. One is to continue north on another ferry and head into St. Andrews New Brunswick, or go a little south on another ferry and head back into the U.S. at Eastport, Maine.

 2) Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Washington, DC

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is located in Washington, D.C. between the Potomac River and the Tidal Basin. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial honors his Presidential years, and is built around President Roosevelt’s four terms in office. The Memorial was established in 1955 by Congress, and not opened until May 1997.

The Memorial opens at 8 a.m., but don’t leave your vehicle before that time. Washington D.C. has a habit of towing vehicles, and asking questions later. On the weekends you would not be able to get your towed vehicle back from the tow yard until it opens on Monday at 9 o’clock in the morning. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is free and has no metal detectors to go through as of yet. At the Memorial, the Accessible Parking is striped wrong so some of the wheel chair ramps won’t have enough space to get out, but there is one space next to the sidewalk where you would be able to get out with your ramp. For those who can’t walk long distances, use your wheelchair or portable chair to bring with you because this site is spread out over a long distance.

The Visitor Center is not very wheelchair friendly because of tight quarters inside the building. The Visitor Center accessible bathrooms are located at the backside of the building. During the weekdays there is a Park Ranger on duty that is a sign language interpreter. Also during any major weekend there is a sign language interpreter at the memorial site. The Memorial Park Ranger said if you call ahead, they would have someone there when you do visit the memorial site. The Memorial has several places for the visually impaired to touch and hear, and understand what’s going on at the site.

Right in front of the Visitor Center is a statue of President Roosevelt in a wheelchair. As you start to look at the different walls that are built, you will see inscriptions inscribed on the wall of the different speeches that he made. They were to motivate us to understand that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. One my favorite speeches by President Roosevelt was given at a Greeting to the American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born in Washington D.C. January 9, 1940: “We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.” The first room starts with Roosevelt’s Presidency, and how he started the country to get out the Depression. The second room deals with his New Deal, and new social policies of getting people back to work. Between the second and third room there is a grassy area with benches to represent the start of World War II. In this area is the pathway down to the tidal basin walkway. As you are walking down by the tidal basin, you will be able to see Thomas Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument. The third room also has a statue of President Roosevelt sitting with his trusty dog Fala next to him. The fourth room symbolizes President Roosevelt’s life, and his legacy that he has left for future generation to benefit from his great wisdom. Also in the fourth room is a great tribute to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her continuing legacy for human rights and dignity.

In Washington D.C. it is somewhat hard to find any accessible parking, but check out the Smithsonian Institution tourism information office about parking around Smithsonian Institution facilities. Washington D.C. National Parks Services and the Smithsonian Institution have many different programs available for persons with a disability. Call ahead to find out when they offer the programs. Plan ahead in what you want to do, and limit yourself to small areas for things you want to do. Washington D.C. is spread out over a great distance. In Washington D.C. traffic can be heavy anytime of the day, and city officials regularly close down streets without notice.

 3) President Franklin Roosevelt’s Little White House and Museum

Warm Springs, Georgia

President Franklin Roosevelt’s Little White House and Museum contributes to our understanding of President Roosevelt’s struggles to deal with his disabilities. President Roosevelt was able to develop new advances for medical equipment for his use, and for other persons with a disability while he was dealing with his own disabilities. President Franklin Roosevelt’s Little White House and Museum Visitor Center is a paid site, and is operated by Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites.

The Visitor Center has an accessible bathroom, and there are motorized scooters available for a person with a disability while at this site. On the grounds are some areas that are too steep, and motorized scooters will come in handy to use. A Park Ranger will take your manual wheelchair down to the house, because scooters can’t access the house. All you have to do is ask them. There are pictures available for the guesthouse and servants’ quarter, which are not accessible. President Franklin Roosevelt’s Little White House and Museum has a Film that is not closed caption. It talks about President Roosevelt and how he used 2/3 of his inheritance to start the Warm Spring pools. The Film also talks about how he came to live there, and to understand the working poor person in the United States. President Roosevelt’s Little White House and Museum has many types of different medical equipment that President Roosevelt had developed for him to use. The museum tells a story of how the medical equipment just didn’t fit President Roosevelt, and was uncomfortable for him to wear. These advances in the medical equipment did make it to the general public. You will see President Roosevelt’s vehicle that uses hand controls from the early 30’s. I thought these vehicles with hand controls were not developed until the late 50’s or early 60’s. Many of his personal items in the museum were from his own life and as the President of the United States of America.

On the grounds of the museum and down a pathway, they have lined up in a row state flags from across the country. The names of the states are inscribed in the rock associated with each of the state’s geological rocks. The house where President Roosevelt passed away is accessible and tells the story of a person who had a disability, but didn’t let that control his life. This house is a very moderate home relative to the status his family had in Hyde Park, New York.

In the area there are some restaurants that are semi-accessible. Bathrooms and parking areas are still an issue in rural America for accessibility. On the other side of Pine Mountain is Callaway Gardens, a great place to visit. Christmas time is the best time to go when all the Christmas lights are on. Callaway Gardens has a buffet for that period of time, and forget about your diet or counting calories because the food and customer service are great. Callaway Gardens has many different pathways that are gentle and easy to walk or wheel on to view different types of gardens.

4) Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Presidential Library and Museum

Hyde Park, New York

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum are both the birthplace and burial-place of President Roosevelt. The Presidential Library and Museum honors the U.S. Park Golden Access Passport, so the park admission is free. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum are located in Hyde Park, New York just north of Poughkeepsie along the east side of the Hudson River.

Henry A Wallace Visitor Center has accessible bathrooms, and the gift shop is semi accessible with some areas that are tight. The Visitor Center has a film about President Roosevelt’s life and time, but the closed captioning was not working when I was there. Hopefully it will be working when you come.

The walk back to Roosevelt’s home is a long way back on the property, so bring a chair. On the way to the home, off to your right is the Presidential Library. The Library houses both the Presidential Papers and White House Memorabilia while he was in office. What was interesting was that he used this house as a second White House. This was the first Presidential Library, which was donated to the people of this country. This served as the model for other Presidents to donate their papers and build a Presidential Library, so future generations can benefit from their leadership and wisdom. On the backside of the Library is a head sculpture of President Roosevelt as a wartime President. In the center of this area are two statues, one of a woman and a man carved out of the Berlin wall.

Continuing down the pathway, off to the right is the burial site of President and Mrs. Roosevelt in a beautiful garden. From the garden and off to your left you can see the Coach house and stables. The garden pathway is a hard fine gravel surface.

The next stop is Springwood Estate, the birthplace and the home of President Roosevelt. Springwood Estate is accessible to wheelchairs but some restrictions are enforced, so ask a Park Ranger for some help. The best time to visit is on a clear day, so from the house grass lawn area you are able to see for miles down into the valley below.

Also nearby is the Vanderbilt Mansion and Eleanor Roosevelt’s home both accept the U.S. Park Golden Access Passport. The area around Hyde Park for 1 hour in all directions is full of all types of American history, spanning from colonial times to modern times. Most of these places are semi-accessible due to the rural area.



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