December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 15

Colorful musical instruments, textured plants and strongly scented herbs add an extra level of sensory stimulation for trail users.

much for them to get up? " Seymour and Banks encouraged the volunteers working on the project to experience
the trail as their intended audience would, using blindfolds
or wheelchairs to help them make the connection. " We're
rookies, so navigating that hill in wheelchairs was a little
strange for us, but people who use normally wheelchairs
blew right through that. "
In addition to navigability and safety concerns, the project team strove to include elements that would enhance
users' sensory experience along the trail. To stimulate the
sense of smell, fragrant plants and herbs were included in
the plans, as well as foliage unique to the touch, such as
lamb's ear. A sound garden with drums and wind chimes
was also mapped out to provide an auditory component,
plus a number of bluebird boxes along the trail to attract
colorful wildlife that would delight visitors with their
songs. A guide rope offers a continuous navigation tool for
the 0.1-mile trail, and bells on the guideposts mark special
elements visitors wouldn't want to miss. Finally, signage
in Braille gives visually impaired walkers a chance to learn
more about their surroundings.
The volunteer corps completed most of the construction this July, although finishing touches continued into
the early fall. The trail opened to the public on October
16, and the team behind it is already gathering input from
users for additional developments and tweaks to put into
place next summer.
" There's so much more than sight that we take advantage of, " Banks says. " These kids pick up on stuff I miss
every single day. " 
Danielle Taylor is the Executive Editor of Parks & Recreation Magazine
(dtaylor@nrpa.org).

	

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W W W. N R PA . O R G | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 4 |

Parks & Recreation

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December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

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