Some good news from the world of accessible trails:
Chris Trzcinski loves to hike, and the 15-year-old from Southern California wants to share his hiking information with other people. So he created his own Web site: www.greatwheelchairaccessiblehikes.com.
While many others turn to their own two feet to power them down a hiking trail, Trzcinski, who has cerebral palsy, depends on his wheelchair and the assistance of his parents, Dave and Heather. And while state park and travel Web sites list several wheelchair-accessible hiking trails, the reality is that not all the trails are maintained properly or are as wheelchair-friendly as they appear.
Off of Crotched Mountain Road across from the main campus of Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, a sign marks a side road as restricted access. Beyond the sign, universal hiking trail builder Peter Jensen and his crew are working to make the area accessible to absolutely everyone.
“Coming out of a conversation with parents, there was a desire to create opportunities for recreation for everyone,” says Michael Redmond, vice president for the advancement of the Crotched Mountain Foundation. “As we got thinking about it, that was exactly where we wanted to be, a place where everyone could come and enjoy the outdoors.”
The Limberlost Trail, at milepost 43, is different from many trails along the drive. It’s an ADA accessible trail (meaning a wheelchair can travel on it) with a crushed green walkway and only a slight grade. The circuit hike of 1.3 miles is good for any age. The trail passes through forest and mountain laurel and crosses over several long wooden walkways.
Trekkers who visit Greenleaf Hut, perched below the mile-high summit of Mount Lafayette in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, must make their way up a relentlessly steep, rocky, rutted and rooted trail, often buffeted by ferocious winds and numbed by sub-freezing temperatures, even in summer.
So when the Appalachian Mountain Club decided to renovate the 1929 building a few years ago and make it handicapped-accessible, most people reacted the way Sarah Palin claimed she did to plans for Alaska’s notorious “Bridge to Nowhere.”?