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“We want our trails to be inviting to a wide range of users, and design them to look like a trail that anyone would want to experience,” he stressed. “The best trail is one that’s well- integrated into its surroundings and engages users in the way it’s designed to— and that may be the highest expres- sion of ‘universal access.’ “But all of this is before the over-

lay,” Weinreb cautioned, “which is where Lucy and Jerry come in.” Mass Audubon Statewide Educa-

tion Projects Manager Lucy Gertz, who has served as the day-to-day director of the All Persons Trails Project, has particular responsibility for the overlay, that is, all the education, navigation, and communication elements that form the core of an accessible trail. These features range from rope walks and railings to braille texts, appropriately placed signposts, tactile displays, and electronic elements that facilitate audio tours and other connec- - ware.

“This entire project and especially the guidelines manual has been excit- ing, and not only as a great opportu- nity to share what Mass Audubon has learned about designing and building accessible trails,” Gertz said. “It’s also been a valuable learning experience, en- gaging people with disabilities and how to meet them ‘on the trail’ so to speak. “And so it’s particularly gratifying

 and even individual property owners can use the manual as a resource in creating trails that welcome people of all abilities,” she noted. “We’ve worked with a lot of ‘trail testers’ and made sure that their ex- pertise has been included. People with disabilities have been included in this project literally from the ground up.”

Jerry Berrier, access technology consultant with the All Persons Trail Project and blind since infancy, has been consulting with Mass Audubon for more than a decade. Berrier, who designs, writes, and narrates audio programs and soundscapes for people with visual impairments, believes the manual is unprecedented in its goal to reach a national audience. “There’s never been anything, to my knowledge, as comprehensive as what we’re doing with the All Persons Trails guidelines,” said Berrier, a tech- nology manager at the internationally renowned Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. “We’ve really come a long way with this sort of outreach and the sharing of information. A lot of people and groups would like to do something like this,

Braille sign at Drumlin Farm

love to make it useful for a wide range of people, but have no idea of how to go about it.

“Now they do,” he said.

Michael P. O’Connor is Public Relations Manager at Mass Audubon, the largest nature conservation organization in Massachusetts. The Trails Manual is at


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