Appalachian Trail now wheelchair accessible

KILLINGTON The Green Mountain National Forest, Green Mountain Club and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy opened the first universal accessible portion of the Appalachian Trail in Vermont last Saturday. The celebration was located at the foot of Thundering Falls, at the Appalachian Trail crossing of River Road in Killington. The new wheelchair accessible parking area is located at the trailhead. This is an excellent addition to the diverse opportunities we offer on the forest, it provides something for people of all abilities, said GMVF Supervisor Meg Mitchell. The Thundering Falls relocation is a great improvement in many ways. It gets rid of the dusty road walk on Thundering Brook Road, adds great views of the Ottauquechee Valley and the falls, protects the resource, and takes advantage of flat terrain to make a stretch of the A.T. accessible to people who use wheelchairs. It took a long time and a lot of work, but the result is worth it, said GMC Executive Director Ben Rose. The new path descends from Thundering Brook Road through northern hardwood forest to the base of Thundering Falls and then passes through the open Ottauquechee River floodplain across 900 feet of boardwalk built by the Green Mountain Club. The Green Mountain Club Long Trail Patrol, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the National Park Service and Green Mountain National Forest have worked on this project since the mid 1980s when they acquired a property easement across the Ottauquechee flood plain. Major funding was secured by the ATC and the Green Mountain Club and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps began work in 2005.

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