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Building Trails to connect Everyone to Nature

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Conservation News
December 18, 2018

By Janet Schutt

Accessible Trails and Sensory Garden Coming to Wolf Preserve

Lenore Wolf’s wish when she donated her 23-acre woodland to the Peconic Land Trust in 2003 was to provide “a place where people can breathe and renew their connection to the land.”

Since 2006, the Trust has maintained two rustic hiking trails through the woods and meadows at Wolf Preserve. Now, we want to take Lenore’s vision further by making the trails accessible to all people, regardless of their physical and cognitive abilities.

Did you know that one in every 20 children is thought to have a sensory processing disorder? Or that nearly 20 percent of Suffolk County’s population is 65 years of age or older? Or that just being in nature promotes greater openness, creativity, connection, generosity, and resilience?

Often the people who need to connect with nature the most aren’t able to. Over 100 studies have shown that spending time in nature makes us happier and calms our nerves. But what if you use a wheelchair or a walker? What if you’re blind or have cognitive disabilities?

The new trails we envision will be accessible for most everyone. They’ll cross freshwater wetlands, meadows, and woodlands. They’ll also include a sensory garden providing healing and safe ways for children and adults to explore with all five senses.

This is a first of its kind project on the East End and our early estimates suggest it will be an expensive one. But we feel that everyone in our community needs more ways to connect to the beautiful place we live.

Phase 1: the creation of a Master Plan is already underway. This plan will survey and analyze the site, identify natural features and concerns, create the final landscape plan, and a comprehensive estimate of costs. This should be finished in January 2019.

Phase 2: Design, permitting and construction.

We need your help to make this happen.

Interested in learning more and making a donation?

Visit Wolf Preserve page, contact Matt Swain at MSwain@PeconicLandTrust.org or Alison Delaney at ADelaney@PeconicLandTrust.org.