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.
The Mass Audubon Sensory Trails are easy to research at www.massaudubon.org. Large print trail guides and audio tours can be downloaded from the website. Sensory trails are at the following locations:
Blue Hills Reservation, Milton
Boston Nature Center, Mattapan
Broadmoor Sanctuary, Natick
Drumlin Farm, Lincoln
Attleboro Springs, Attleboro
North River - South Shore, Marshfield
Stony Brook, Norfolk
Wellfleet Bay, Wellfleet
Broad Meadow Brook, Worcester
Arcadia Sanctuary, Easthampton
Pleasant Valley Sanctuary, Lenox
The trail loops back to Irving Street providing a navigated distance of a quarter mile or so. In the middle of the loop is a delightful Sensory Garden with several weather resistant wonders enjoyable at any time of year. Two rowboats are permanently fixed in the garden, representing some of the history along the river. They can be used for seating as well as tactile exploration. There is also a large xylophone built on a fallen tree and other intriguing sculptural elements on site. An adjacent picnic area allows for more relaxed enjoyment of the river side, but be aware there are no public bathrooms here.
In working so diligently on this trail project, Mass Audubon has become a national resource in best practices for developing sensory trails. In response to a high volume of inquiries, Mass Audubon is currently working on a publication for those interested in constructing sensory trails. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org