An exciting new initiative will allow people of all ages and abilities to better access the wonders of Arcadia Marsh. GTRLC’s stewardship team hopes to break ground in fall of 2018 on a Universal Access (UA) trail that will traverse the marsh and allow visitors to fully appreciate the intricacies of this natural wonder.
Much like the UA-designed Overlook Trail at Arcadia Dunes, this flat, firm and level boardwalk trail will allow people who use wheelchairs or walkers – or with mobility issues in general – to easily walk through the marsh. And because the current marsh trail is already susceptible to sogginess and messy conditions due to fluctuating water levels, the boardwalk trail will present a substantial upgrade to anyone who visits the marsh, regardless of ability.
Plans call for the trail to be built along an old railroad grade, minimizing disruption to the marsh ecosystem. It will be about two feet off the ground, protecting native plants and soil while providing a better view for visitors. It will extend about three quarters of a mile through the marsh, starting at the existing parking lot and ending at a new lot near St. Pierre Road.
Aside from a clear path for hiking, birdwatching and more, the trail will include several bump-outs with benches, two observation platforms and a small fishing pier along Bowens Creek. It is anticipated that the trail may be periodically closed during certain highly sensitive nesting periods. Detailed surveys conducted by GTRLC volunteers over the past four years have given the Conservancy an excellent idea of what birds are active at which times.
To minimize impact on the marsh’s wildlife, trail construction will begin after the nesting season in 2018 and conclude before nesting in 2019.