NCA was established through a cooperative agreement between Indiana University and the National Park Service. Over the last two decades, NCA has emerged as a leading authority on access issues unique to park and recreation programs and facilities.
Located on the Indiana University – Bloomington campus, NCA is a center within the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies in the School of Public Health. NCA's success over the last 20 years can be attributed to support from the Indiana University administration, the National Park Service, and a vast network of individuals and agencies that have contributed to both an immense new knowledge base and utilized NCA services in one form or another.
At NCA, we believe that the principles of universal design and inclusion are important factors for achieving personal wellness and building healthy communities. Among people with disabilities, recreation and active leisure pursuits are vital for rehabilitation from illness or injury, prevention of disease, longevity and improved quality of life. NCA is a major contributor to the study of disability and inclusion in the life sciences. Through the comprehensive services of Research, Technical Assistance and Education, NCA focuses on universal design and practical accessibility solutions creating inclusive recreation opportunities for people of all abilities. NCA links the preferences and needs of people with disabilities to those of practitioners designing facilities and planning programs. Since 1992, thousands of professionals such as park superintendents, facility managers, architects and landscape architects, program coordinators, civil engineers, planners, interpreters and exhibit designers, accessibility coordinators, advocates and consumers have drawn on NCA as a valued resource; and as a result, they have been able to affect change within their parks, facilities and communities.