Eleven years ago planning began to construct a trail at the Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway that would be accessible to those with physical challenges. This handicap accessible trail came close to reality at least two times, but at the last minute funding was pulled at the Regional or Washington level.
Funding through a partnership with Nature Valley, the National Park Foundation, and the National Park Service is now making this trail possible. Work is being done by The Blue Ridge Parkway’s Maintenance Staff with assistance from a crew provided by the Student Conservation Corps (SCA). Footers are now being placed to support a boardwalk along one edge of Abbott Lake. Once completed persons confined to wheelchairs or unsure of their footing will be able to venture away from the paved parking lots and sidewalks of the Peaks of Otter Lodge and travel through the forest and field edge of Abbott Lake. This area is abundant in wildlife such as whitetail deer, birds, bear, and frogs.
The trail will be completed in sections with the first part hoping to be available by this fall.