DELAPLANE, Va. (WDVM) — The new sensory trail at Sky Meadows State Park is designed to help people with hearing, visual and other sensory impairments engage with nature.
“As we’re standing right now, we’re on a surface that was put down first of all with grades that make it easier for mobility-impaired people but also because it’s tactile,” said Sky Meadows State Park Manager Timothy Skinner.
The trail is three-tenths of mile and has many unique features.
“Along with this is also an audio app that you can easily download onto your phone and that app leads through the trail it will tell you that the next sign is on your right in 70 feet,” said Skinner.
More than 50 volunteers from the Shenandoah Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists helped design and construct the project.
“Each stop along the tour with the different instructions to listen to the sound of the birds or feel this tree…it asks us to slow down with nature and connect in a more intentional way,” said Sky Meadows State Park Marketing Specialist Ryan Selove.
The trail is also built to sustainable trail standards to prevent erosin and protect the animal species that live in the area.
“We knew that if accomodated mobility, hearing and vision impairments then it would also heighten the sensory experience for everybody that uses this three-tenths of a mile,” said Dkinner.
Construction of the $37,000 trail began in early June and now it is officially open to the public.