BETHLEHEM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Five Rivers Environmental Education Center has a new accent piece—the 0.66-mile, accessible “Fisher Trail.” Most of the trail’s length is constructed in compliance with DEC accessibility guidelines for people with mobility disabilities and expands access to outdoor recreation opportunities on DEC lands. The trail was officially opened to the public during a ribbon cutting at Five Rivers with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, Friends of Five Rivers, members of the DEC Accessibility Advisory Committee, and other partners.
“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,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC appreciates the partnership of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, and support from Friends of Five Rivers and the DEC Accessibility Advisory Board, which were all vital to completing this new outdoor footpath and further enhance the offerings at Five Rivers.”
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 project was funded with $400,000 from NY Works and the Adventure NY initiative. Environmental conservation officials said DEC is making strategic investments through Adventure NY to improve access to state land and water, rehabilitate and improve campgrounds, and upgrade DEC recreational facilities.
Part of the new trail is on a 35-acre parcel owned by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC). The parcel is managed as part of Five Rivers through a 2018 easement agreement with DEC.
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 deep 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.