Finding Accessible Trails

Finding Accessible Trails

access to the outdoors

Maine Trail Finder tries to make it easy for our users to search and discover the most appropriate trails to meet their interests, abilities, and locations. 

One of our current objectives is to answer the question: "How can Maine Trail Finder better communicate appropriate, non-judgmental information about trail accessibility to support trail users facing mobility and access challenges?"

Working with state and non-profit partners to better answer this question, we are hoping to increase the levels of engagement of individuals facing mobility challenges in outdoor recreation.  

a new communications framework

Maine has a number of fully-accessible trails whose routes and features are in compliance with applicable accessibility guidelines. There are many other trails with limited barriers, and a growing number of trail managers that are trying to develop trails that maximize trail accessibility within the confines of their natural settings. 

We have partnered with the state’s ADA Accessibility Coordinator (Eric Dibner) and SUFU Maine (Speaking Up for Us) to begin to develop a reporting framework that will help MTF, specifically, and trail managers, broadly, to develop a framework and tools for reporting on accessibility. To do this, we seek to:

  • Review and summarize existing accessibility survey tools and descriptors from national groups and agencies.
  • Meet with trail managers to learn existing practices and discuss capabilities for data collection.
  • Draft a template for collecting and sharing trail accessibility information.
  • Create a candidate list of state trails that offer various levels of accessibility.
  • Visit a selection of trails and field-test the draft template with direct participation from individuals that experience mobility impairments.
  • Identify strategies for enhancing Maine Trail Finder's interface to improve searchability and display.
  • Refine template design for installation.
  • Prepare an instructional and publicity plan.

This is a significant and important undertaking. Funding from Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and SUFU Maine are helping us get started.

Learning Together

Contact us to learn more about this work, or to share your experiences, ideas, or favorite accessible trails.

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