We know that there are barriers that prevent full access to KNC. To help identify them, we turned to Disability Network Southwest Michigan. In ways large and small, they found instances both inside and out, where our facilities limit or prevent access based on a person’s mobility.
- Our new Birds of Prey enclosures offer a good example of how we can make KNC more accessible. They were located by the Visitor Center, but new state regulations require us to build safer, roomier enclosures. They’re now along the Monica A. Evans Arboretum Trail, which is closer to parking and to the Hummingbird/Butterfly garden and sculpture tour. Yet both the Arboretum Trail and Habitat Haven Trail need resurfacing to make them smooth and level for all users. Here are other ways where your support can help us achieve quick wins both inside and out:
- Trail Signs, Limb Removal: We need new trail signs that list information such as tread width, trail surface and change in elevation. All crucial details for guests in wheelchairs. We also need to trim all branches or limbs that hang less than 80 inches above the trail. Otherwise, they create an unseen hazard for people with limited vision.
Trail & Entry Improvements: Resurfacing, new signage and proper ramps and railings.
- Power Assist Doors: When architect Alden Dow designed our Visitor Center in 1963, he wanted to “bring the outside in,” and reduce barriers between people and nature. Now, to build on that legacy, we need power-assist doors that serve people with wheelchairs and walkers, parents with strollers, teenagers on crutches. We all need an extra hand now and then!
With your generosity, we can make the gift of nature available to all. As the Disability Network reminds us, “A disability doesn’t exist until someone encounters a barrier.”