AARP Bulletin, article by CLAUDIA DREIFUS

When Stanely Selengut started losing his vision to macular degeneration three years ago, he began thinking about how his ecologically oriented resorts in the U.S. Virgin Islands could better accommodate people with disabilities.

"If someone's in a wheelchair," says Selengut, an ecotoursim pioneer who's now 76 and legally blind, "most of what's available to them now are cruise ships and a few designated rooms at mass-tourism hotels."

Working with Multi, Design for People, a Rhode Island based studio, Selengut revamped plans for his newest venture, Estate Concordia on St. John. In five wood-and-canvas "ecotents" (see picture) he had special ramps and railings installed, as well as easy-to-use fixtures and appliances.

His design team also worked with local merchants on sporting and entertainment venues. Taxi drivers were given portable ramps to make their cabs wheelchair-accessible. Plastic mesh mats were set down on beaches, making it possible for wheelchairs to reach the water. And thanks to a lifting device called "Love Handles," tourists can now board boats for snorkeling, sailing and Kayaking.

In July, Selegut invited four travelers with disabilities to come to Concordia to test everything. "I never thought I'd have this kind of vacation," reported one of the them, Ileana Rodriguez, 19, a student from Miami who's paraplegic. " What Mr. Selengut has done here will hopefullly be a model to other resort operators."