BENEFITING: FRIENDS OF STROUDS RUN STATE PARK INC
One of the finest aspects of life is the ability to enjoy the outdoors. For many, that includes the opportunity to physically access the woods and other aspects of nature. Unfortunately, for those in our region with mobility impairments (many of whom are seniors), there are few opportunities to do that because although there are 14 state parks in ODNR’s Southeast District, not one has an accessible trail. Strouds Run State Park offers 2,600 acres of forest, 400+ acres of adjoining nature preserves, a 160-acre lake and 40 miles of trails just minutes from downtown Athens. Currently, however, a lack of accessible facilities keeps many with mobility issues from accessing the natural parts of the park, and those in wheelchairs are limited to enjoying the park from cars or parking lots. Although they can look at some of the scenery, they can’t experience the feeling of being surrounded by trees, flowers and the sights and sounds of the lake. The Friends of Strouds Run State Park, a nonprofit group, proposes to conduct earthwork that will include grading, widening and surfacing to allow wheelchair use. The work will include connecting the ends of the trail to existing parking lots that are or can be made ADA-accessible, and will include a spur trail to the water's edge terminating in a fishing dock. The trail will be a half-mile long and will feature scenic views of the forest and of Dow Lake. This would be the first and only ADA-compliant trail in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' southeastern region, which includes 14 state parks. Construction will be done by a professional trail building crew with extensive experience building accessible trails for those with disabilities and accessibility issues. Friends of Strouds Run already has committed $2,000 toward construction of this trail, in addition to 150 person-hours of volunteer labor planning and doing preliminary construction during 2014 and 2015. Additionally, we have secured a $10,000 funding commitment from the O'Bleness Foundation. Goals: AN ADDITIONAL $10,000 will enable us to complete the first half-mile of this trail. AN ADDITIONAL $20,000 (including the above) will enable us to expand the accessible trail portion to 0.8 mile. AN ADDITIONAL $30,000 (including the above) will enable us to add two fully-accessible water fountains along the route.