Sarasota's Oscar Scherer Park Adds ADA-Compliant Trail At Lake Osprey

Sarasota County's Oscar Scherer State Park is opening a lakeside nature trail that meets the needs of those who require special accommodations to enjoy its eco-amenities.

The half-mile trail circles Osprey Lake and provides ADA-compliant accommodations that include six-foot-wide trails big enough for two passing wheelchairs, guide rails for the visually impaired and a gentle slope that is free of obstructions. The trail itself is laid with marl, a substance comprised of clay and calcium carbonate, that provides the stability of asphalt with the flexibility of sand. The trail also features ADA-friendly benches placed at locations around the lake that provide the best view of the lake and wildlife such as the endangered scrub jay.

According to Russell Delaney, president of the Friends of Oscar State Scherer Park, the trail is the first of a four-part series of redevelopment throughout the park that includes installing a littoral shelf along the lake's circumference to enhance shore-bird fishing and survival, a fishing pier and a boardwalk. When the park received a gift of $50,000 from Lee Wetherington Homes, the decision was made to go forward with the trail.

"We could not have done this without Wetherington," explains Delaney. "Their gift allowed us to start making plans. We already had one ADA-compliant trail. It generated so much interest and gets so much use we decided to tackle this to provide another ADA opportunity for the community. Florida has a lot of sandy trails. And they are not just hard on wheelchairs. They are hard for people with bad knees and young families with strollers. This new trail makes it possible to provide a much larger population with access to the park."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Russell Delaney, Friends of Oscar Scherer State Park

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