WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — You can touch, smell and hear nature at the new sensory trail at Winchester’s Jim Barnett Park. The trail was designed with the blind and visually impaired in mind. It’s something Chris Walker, who is blind, is excited to experience.
“I’ve lived in Winchester for 10 years, and I’m just so happy this has happened… the community is listening to what we’re needing and wanting and not leaving us out,” said Chris Walker, who serves as the president for the Winchester Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind.
Over 400 feet long, the trail has braille descriptions of fourteen trees, crunchy gravel, an herb garden, and a rope to help guide walkers.
The Winchester Host Lions Club initiated plans for the trial as part of their 100th-anniversary commemoration.
“They requested clubs to come up with a legacy project that would benefit their communities so we put a committee together and came up with the idea of the sensory trail since our mission is helping the blind,” said Caz Zuckerman, secretary of the Winchester Host Lions Club.
It took several years to finish the trail which came with some challenges.
“We had flooding here at one time we had trees that died and had to be replaced…you know we were probably kind of close to finishing and then COVID hit and that delayed us for another two years,” said Tom Crosby, board member of the Winchester Host Lions Club.
There are hopes to expand in the future.
“I don’t know if they could add a pond or what they can do within the park I feel like if they talk to many other blind people there’s gonna be a lot of great suggestions that are gonna be really helpful,” said Walker.
The trail will officially open after a commemoration ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m.