Thursday, March 17, 2016

12 Sensory Trails in Massachusetts Ready to Visit

There are now a dozen wheelchair accessible sensory trails in Massachusetts! For so long we only had one trail at Cape Cod National Seashore. Now a dozen trails are scattered across the Commonwealth and three more are on the way to being completed!

I got to share this exciting news last week at the FOCUS Conference for people with Visual Impairments and Blindness last week in Norwood, Massachusetts. It was so much fun to be the bearer of good news, along with Jerry Berrier. Jerry and I contributed to the Mass Audubon project which has put most of these sensory trails in place since 2009. I provided initial consultation, staff training and contacts from the disability community for testing concepts and completed trails. Jerry provided consultation as a blind birder and trail user as well as recording all the audio tours for the 10 (soon to be 14) trail project.

All but one of the recently developed sensory trails are located at Mass Audubon sanctuaries. The trails now have navigational systems, Braille signage and audio tours highlighting trail features that engage the senses at several stops. The trails are wheelchair accessible, start from the visitor center and travel up to a mile. Most are in the 1/2 mile range and connect to trail networks. They are a wonderful pathway for users of all ages and abilities to get closer to nature.