CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Wildlife for Everyone is working to make the outdoors a place everyone can enjoy regardless of their abilities.
“Everyone in the foundation thinks it’s really important that we focus on making everything that we do so that it’s accessible to everyone,” Volunteer Liaison Mark Nale said.
A multi-year project working to make 127 acres of wetland north of Port Matilda more accessible has been a work in progress. The Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis Birding Area recently got an upgrade with the help of a local boy scout.
“What if everybody who needed a wheelchair could see what we could see now standing?” Will English, a member of Troop 32 working on his Eagle Scout Project, said.
English and his dad, Chris, worked to create an 800-foot level trail and an elevated viewing platform for a portion of the wetland. They also have a personal connection to the cause.
“My uncle was in a crash on a motorcycle and he lost his leg and I like the fact that this is wheelchair accessible,” Will said. “So, he could come out here in his wheelchair.”
Construction on the project kicked off in early May.
“From that time, just the work on the project was about 340 hours,” Chris said.
The pair said they received help from Will’s fellow troop members as well as supplies and donations from local businesses.
Work on the platform is just about done and now, the foundation is shifting its focus to an accessible project at Soaring Eagle Wetland.
The project includes, “A new parking lot for handicapped spaces and then a level trail to the stream with a viewing slash fishing platform,” Nale said.
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Nale said he hasn’t seen many environmental reserves in the area make an effort toward accessibility, making this project special.
“There are lots of nice trails, but they’re not really handicap accessible,” Nale said. “So, we’re offering something that I think is needed in Central Pennsylvania.”