Page 9 - 2024 Cortland Travel Guide
P. 9



        Picture this: a rugged trail winding through the lush woods, the chatter of
        birds above and the rustle of leaves beneath your feet. Now, imagine experi-
        encing this bliss even if mobility challenges are a part of your story. Thanks to
        Lime Hollow Nature Center’s innovative spirit, coupled with a community’s
        unwavering commitment to accessibility, the Cortland County nature center
        has been a game-changer in the world of nature exploration.

        In 1996, Charles Yaple envisioned the Trail for All project, aiming to break
        barriers in nature exploration. Guided by the passionate Glenn Reisweber,
        who carried the torch as the executive director, this initiative evolved into a
        movement with the goal of ensuring that all, regardless of physical abilities,
        could experience Lime Hollow’s wonders.

        In 2009, after three years of steadfast dedication, a 1/3-mile wheelchair-
        accessible trail materialized—a collaborative effort by dedicated community
        volunteers. Eagle Scouts crafted bridges and a wheelchair-accessible stream
        overlook; the Dryden Rotary Club, with a generous donation from Bestway
        Lumber’s, built an accessible Gracie Pond overlook. The Cortland Career
        Works Program and SUNY Cortland students moved 140 tons of sand by
        hand over two summers to transform the mulch trail into a robust, wheel-
        chair-accessible surface. Guiding this effort was Fran Pizzola, a force from
        Cortland County Access to Independence, who served as the center’s consul-
        tant and took an honorary wheelchair ride on launch day.

        Fifteen years later, Lime Hollow continues to champion inclusivity under
        the leadership of executive director Ilya Schmulenson. In 2023, the nature
        center became one of two in the state equipped with an Action TrackChair©,
        a battery-powered, all-terrain “wheelchair”.  Further plans include regrading,
        rerouting and resurfacing specific trails, expanding the Accessible Trail from
        1/3 mile to three miles through the renowned Art Meadow and connecting it
        to the Lehigh Valley railroad trail. Rest points, repairs to existing bridges and
        directional signage installations are also in the pipeline, guided by insights
        from Cornell University’s Design Connect program and SUNY Cortland’s
        outdoor recreation internship program. Thanks to backing from the Central
        NY Community Foundation, Guthrie, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation,
        JM Murray Foundation, Nicholas & Agnes Renzi Charitable Fund, Plan First
        Technologies, and the Siegle Foundation, Lime Hollow continues its transfor-
        mative journey toward universal outdoor access.

        This journey has been a testament to the spirit of a united community, fueled
        by a shared passion for nature. The Trail for All transcends being merely a
        Lime Hollow Nature Center endeavor; it has evolved into a community-driv-
        en initiative, embodying the collaborative commitment to universal outdoor
        accessibility and the enduring love for the great outdoors.

        Visit to reserve the Action TrackChair

   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14