'All Persons Trails' Help People With Disabilities Get Out Into Nature

A man in a blue hooded jacket stands outdoors holding his cane

Perkins staffer Jerry Berrier is a lifelong birder who gave reporter NPR Andrea Shea his insights on accessible nature trails.

November 24, 2016

For a lot of people, taking a hike through a wooded park or wildlife sanctuary on a beautiful day is an invigorating, peaceful, even meditative experience. But that's not always the case for everyone.

“It can be scary to be in an unfamiliar environment," Jerry Berrier told me.

Berrier has been blind since birth. But he’s also a lifelong birder who loves the outdoors. Berrier birds by ear and records their calls and songs whenever he gets the chance.

Now Berrier can venture safely along a nature trail — on his own — more easily. That's because the state Department of Conservation and Recreation built a specially designed, accessible park very close to where he works at the Perkins School for the Blind.

“It is difficult for me as a person who’s totally blind to find places where I can spend an hour or two, or longer, all by myself if I choose to,” Berrier said while sitting on a bench on the Watertown Riverfront Park and Braille Trail along the Charles River.

Read the original story from WBUR's Morning Edition or hear the full story from NPR's Here & Now.

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