Trail Conference Opens Handicapped-accessible Appalachian Trail Section on Bear Mountain Summit

June 04, 2011
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Trail Conference Opens Handicapped-accessible Appalachian Trail Section on Bear Mountain Summit



New handicapped accessible AT at Bear Mountain opens. Photo by Jeremy Apgar.200 people gathered on the summit of Bear Mountain June 4, National Trails Day, to celebrate the opening of a new 1.3-mile Appalachian Trail loop that includes a 0.4-mile section of handicapped accessible trail.

The new ADA trail section extends from the parking area near Perkins Tower to a viewpoint over the Hudson Valley that, on a clear day, takes in the Catskill Mountains. It is the first such viewpoint from the AT on Bear Mountain. The trail was built by the Trail Conference in accord with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The trail is part of a multi-year project to improve and rehabilitate the trail network at Bear Mountain. Project partners include the NY-NJ Trail Conference, the Palisades Parks Conservancy, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation,  Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the National Park Service. 

The trail was enthusiastically welcomed by trail lovers of all levels of ability.

Matthew Castelluccio, Adaptive Sports Coordinator and Patient Mentor at Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital in Rockland County, commented: "I was very impressed with the design and layout of the trail.  It provided a challenge that was not too diffcult to be discouraging.  For the first time in eight years since my motorcycle accident, I was able to enjoy hiking with my friends."

JoAnn and Paul Dolan wrote after the opening: "In our over 30 years of involvement in the Trail Conference and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, we have never been more proud to be associated with these two fine groups.

"We both also have a deep appreciation for landscape and trail design and as parents of a  child with a disability we have a personal interest in seeing more accessible trails."

Praising Peter Jensen's trail design and Eddie Walsh's execution, they continued: "Your work has extraordinary design elements, a Japanese garden like balance and artistry,  spectacular use of rock and wild landscape and a great sensitivity to the user.  The trail is a wonderful experience for all--a quiet, healing place that will become one of the AT’s great treasures."