Hey fellow hikers! I have a totally different story for you this time. We at MTF have been working toward recruiting a group of ambassadors with different disabilities than I have. We are hoping to be able to provide the best information about trails across a wide variety of abilities.
One of our first ambassador groups is Momentum. Momentum is a community-based agency which provides support services to adults with autism, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. Their motto happens to be “ALL PEOPLE CAN ACCOMPLISH INCREDIBLE THINGS!” With a motto like that could there be a better fit for a trail accessibility ambassador? I don’t think so
They had done a few hikes this past season. I met them at Twin Bridges Preserve in Otisfield to show them how I do assessments, and to get to know each other. I started off with introductions and explaining how things were going to work. They had been to this area before so I left it up to them to pick the trail.
We started out on the Pierce Trail from the parking lot. It is basically an old road which you know I love. It was quite easy to make it along this section with my wheelchair. We did encounter the occasional root system but it wasn’t anything insurmountable.
The kiosk is not anywhere near the parking lot, so accessing it requires getting out of the car and going down the trail a couple hundred feet.
It wasn’t too long before we made a bad choice and turned onto a very difficult trail. It became very rocky, muddy, and rutted. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise however, as it was the perfect opportunity to teach not only the group leader but the ambassadors about what to document when it comes to obstacles.
The group started to make a game out of the obstacles, and walked ahead to warn the rest of any obstacles ahead. By time we were done, they had an amazing education in what non-accessible trails are like, as well as how to describe them.
All were so excited about their new activities that after our hike together, they went straight to Pineland Farms to hike another trail without me.
The following is what we are looking for when an ambassador assesses a trail, with the Campus Loop to Malaga Memorial Trail at Pineland Farms the Momentum group visited serving as an example.
TRAILHEAD: The trailhead has parking, a kiosk, public restrooms in the outdoor center, and picnic tables around the parking lot.
SIGNAGE: Signage describes the various trails and their lengths. The kiosk shows the various activities that are allowed on the trails. Contact information for the Outdoor Rec Center is included (207-688-6599).
TRAIL TREADWAY: Firm, apart from sections under going work which were soft from fresh soil being spread.
SURFACE: Firm in most places with a few soft sections.
SURFACE MATERIAL: Dirt, mud, rocks, grass, and gravel.
WIDTH: 1.5 vehicles wide.
Enock: I love this! Almost everyone can picture in their head the width of a car!
SLOPE: Mostly flat, with the expectation of one steep hill.
CROSS SLOPE: One small section with a cross slope on a hill.
OBSTACLES None observed, besides the stray tree root.
AMENITIES: No functional benches on the trail, besides benches at the Malaga Memorial. There is no drinking water except for a water fountain inside the recreation center.
WHAT DID YOU LIKE ON YOUR OUTING?
Enock: Shade is definitely a great thing on a trail Shane!
Enock: Great tip Jayden!
If you have a different type of mobility issue or a different disability and you visit this trail or others, please comment on this post and give us your feedback. The more knowledge we gather and share, the more people we can get outside using the trails of Maine!
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