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Wheelchair accessible trail for Saguaro Park

Posted at 5:56 PM, Feb 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 07:11:32-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Arizona has plenty of natural beauty that handicapped people may have a hard time seeing up close.
      
That's why the National Park Service is preparing to make a trail in Saguaro National Park East suitable to people in wheelchairs and people who would have trouble making it down a more rugged trail.
 
The Broadway Trailhead is a gateway to a rich network of trails in Saguaro Park East but most of the trails are too soft and irregular for the wheels of a wheel chair.  
         
But a trail that could handle the handicapped would have let the four-person hiking group with Julie Tillotson bring along a good friend.
 
"One of our very, very good friends for 35 years has MS. So any of this was out of the question because she just, she can't walk well and if we could get a wheelchair and we could put her in a wheelchair we could all take a nice walk."
     
Now one of the popular trails will be smoothed out.  The first seven-tenths of a mile of the Mica View Loop will get a surface hard enough to roll down all the way to a picnic area.
 
Andy Fisher of Saguaro National Park says, “The reason it's such a good choice is because the Mica View Picnic Area is also being slated for an upgrade.  It's going to become a group site which will allow multi-generational use, school classrooms and other groups that want to come in and use it and then it'll give them access on an ADA stabilized trail to come into the cactus forest."
 
No one's talking about paving the trail with hard materials like you'd see in the middle of a road. 
 
The plan is to smooth out and pack down this place with materials that look like they belong in a natural spot like this.
       
So people who might have had to see this beautiful slice of nature from a car window will have a chance to see it up close.
 
Work on this trail is set to start February 22nd and wrap up in May in plenty of time before the monsoon rolls in.