One of the most satisfying things about trail-building is that you never know what's going to pop up around the trail after it's been constructed. For FHTA members, the nicest surprise was the development of the Sensory Trail and the Accessible Tree House by a multi-agency group led by the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities (FCBDD).
Forest Rose School serves school aged children with developmental disabilities in Fairfield County, and is administered by FCBDD. The trail snakes along Fetters Creek on the east side of the school grounds.
In 2008, FCBDD, along with the Fairfield County Soil and Water District, the US Natural Resource Conservation Service, the City of Lancaster, the Southeastern Ohio Center for Independent Living, and the Heart of Ohio RC&D envisioned a unique addition to the Lancaster Heritage Trail. The trail would have life-sized musical instruments, a boardwalk through a wetland, and an accessible tree house. It would be a great place for Forest Rose students and their families to enjoy, and available to the entire community.
Grant applications were written, matching funds were raised through an annual "Run for the Rose 5K", and volunteers from many local groups and businesses worked to build the park.
In 2009, the Sensory Trail was named the Project of the Year by the North Central Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils.
Since it opened to the public, it has been used continuously by the Forest Rose School community, the general public, and has even been featured by Lancaster Festival musicians during the July arts and music festival.
Visit the FCBDD website for more information about the Lancaster Sensory Trail.
View Sensory Trail/Accessible Tree House in a larger map
Accessible Tree House
Another addition to the Sensory Trail was just as amazing - FCBDD's Accessible Tree House. It, too, was built with the support of a large part of the community, including some of the same organizations and businesses that built the Sensory Trail.
Just a couple of hundred yards north of the Sensory Trail, the tree house features a ramp that allows access to people with mobility difficulties, and has quite a few unique features that make it a joy for people of ALL abilities.
The tree house opened in 2012, and it's rumored that FCBDD has a few more additions to the trail in the planning stages. Keep an eye on this page or our blog for more information as it comes available.
The members of FHTA are very proud of the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the community at large for the creative and inclusive way they enhanced the Lancaster Heritage Trail.
Unless otherwise noted,
Accessible Tree House photos courtesy of bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com