|Accessible trails allow for group as well as individual|
and family exploration of parks.
This month I attended the Massachusetts Trails Conference in Leominster. The theme of the conference was “Trails For All”. I use many accessible trails in the course of my work as an adaptive recreation program coordinator and well know how they improve quality of life for people of all abilities. Many trail users, including trail building advocates, continue to discover the value of trails designed for everyone.
Dick O’Brien, Chairperson for the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board, gave a wonderful opening speech sharing how he has discovered the importance of accessible trails. Many of the 250+ attendees had gray hair, so it is surely getting easier for the trail using community to grasp the issue as they age. Nevertheless, by sharing his personal experiences, Dick spoke to our hearts. From his father’s need for a wheelchair changing his ability to access favorite places, to a conservation donor’s frustration at not being able to see her property to discuss improvements, and to his own recent health issues, Dick demonstrated the vital need for access to natural places. How do you get out there to enjoy the outdoors if your health and abilities have become compromised?