Wheelchairs welcome on new Five Rivers trail

— Photo by Douglas H. Domedion

The Fisher Trail is named for the fisher, a member of the weasel family found at Five Rivers, and for nearby Fisher Boulevard.

BETHLEHEM — The Fisher Trail at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center was officially opened on Tuesday.

Most of the trail’s 0.66-mile length is constructed in compliance with accessibility guidelines from the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation for people with mobility disabilities.

“The outdoors belong to everyone, and completion of this new trail at Five Rivers will reduce barriers between individuals with disabilities and the beauty of DEC’s lands,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a release announcing the opening.

Part of the new trail is on a 35-acre parcel owned by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. The parcel is managed as part of Five Rivers through a 2018 easement agreement with DEC. 

“DEC appreciates the partnership of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy,” said Seggos, “and support from Friends of Five Rivers and the Accessibility Advisory Board, which were all vital to completing this new outdoor footpath and further enhance the offerings at Five Rivers.”

The project was funded with $400,000 from NY Works and the Adventure NY initiative.

As part of the trail project, DEC Operations crews constructed an elevated viewing platform and installed several accessible benches along the trail.

The trail largely follows a route laid out by members of the Student Conservation Association AmeriCorps program. Two new parking lots, each with a map and information kiosk, are available off Fisher Boulevard and the end of Mason Lane. 

The half-mile portion of the Fisher Trail that is accessible to people with mobility disabilities runs from Fisher Boulevard past the Mason Lane parking area to a viewing platform overlooking the Phillipinkill.

From there, the trail continues down a steep slope into the ravine of the Phillipinkill and on to the Wild Turkey Trail. The Wild Turkey Trail connects with Five Rivers’ other trails and ends at the Visitor Center at Game Farm Road.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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