U.S. Parks Showcase Natural Wonders for Blind Visitors

July is National Park and Recreation month in the United States, so SightConnection.org has published a list of parks in the Pacific Northwest that make a special effort to welcome blind and low-vision visitors.

Among the welcoming venues are:

  • The Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind & Friends in Sandy, Ore. It is a 22-acre forest designed especially for the blind and their sighted friends. The park is about 50 km east of Portland on the Sandy River near Mount Hood. 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the park, which offers sensory gardens, a fishing pond, a quarter-mile walking track with raised railings, and dorm-style accommodation complete with a hot tub, indoor swimming pool and a braille and audiobook library. Activities include white water rafting, kayaking, crafting, bungee jumping, zip-lining, sculpting, creative writing and excursions to nearby attractions.
  • The Audubon Birdloop is part of Marymoor Park in Redmond, Wash. It is a looped path that leads through meadows, forest and marshlands that are home to more than 200 bird species and, as a result, is as much an auditory experience as a visual one.
  • The Everett Lions Park in Washington state provides a free web 'ClickAndGo' system designed specifically to help people with low vision. Users indicate where they want to go and the software generates auditory and braille walking directions. It also describes points of interest along the way.
  • The Tennant Lake Interpretive Centre in Ferndale, near Bellingham, Wash., has installed TV cameras on its observation tower so those with some sight can zoom in on wetlands wildlife. It also has a fragrance garden complete with braille signage.
Source:

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