Accessibility of Distant Hill Gardens
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another." Charles Dickens
Making it Possible for Everyone to Explore and Enjoy
Many of the paths winding through the ornamental plantings at Distant Hill Gardens are accessible by everyone. The problem arises in the ability of all visitors to access the 'Native Gardens' - our forests, fields and wetlands.
- The trails throughout these more natural areas of the gardens are quite rough and rocky; in certain places they are difficult even for guests on foot to navigate easily.
Starting in the fall of 2013, we began building the first accessible hiking trail at Distant Hill Gardens. We recieved a grant from the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership known as Q2C . The grant was applied for and administered through ACCESS, a Keene NH non-profit helping people with disabilites. Three days a week for six weeks this fall, a small group of students and teachers from ACCESS helped us build our first 'Trail-for-All' to one of the many vernal pools on the property.
Our goal is to build an accessible trail network throughout Distant Hill Gardens, connecting as many of the vernal pools, wetlands rich and semi-rich plant communities, and other points of interest on the property with easy to navigate 'Trails-for-All'.
We were inspired by a workshop Michael attended on Sustainable Trail Design, taught by noted trail builder Peter Jensen of TrailBuilders.com . Peter designed and built the longest Accessible Trail System in a mountainside environment in the United States at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield, New Hampshire.
We are also looking into an ATV and other equiptment to help maintain the trails. The vehicle would also enable us to transport visitors who have mobility issues to all of the features of Distant Hill.
Between grants and saving our pennies, we hope to slowly fund the 'Trails-for-All' construction and the equipment purchases.