Adapting to the Pandemic: Finding Safe Outdoor Spaces in a Changed World
River Region Trails is working to increase the awareness of trails and trail development here in Central Alabama while also supporting the work of other trail development organizations. The Rails to Trails Conservancy's mission is to develop a nationwide network of trails and to reimagine public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. You can learn more about them here
This article is part of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Trail Moments initiative—to elevate new and tried-and-true trail voices around the country, and how trails impact the lives of Americans. You can read the full article on their website by clicking here:
"This article is part of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Trail Moments initiative—to elevate new and tried-and-true trail voices around the country, and how trails impact the lives of Americans. Learn more at trailmoments.org and #TrailMoments on social media
Our family has visited rail-trails throughout New England and beyond, bringing our adaptive tandem bicycle along so I could explore more than the limited distance I am able to walk (about 2 miles). My right leg and foot are partially paralyzed, so I only take easy walks (not too many roots or rocks, relatively level and with something of interest along the way), using hiking poles to offer support and aid in balance. Nearly 30 years ago, as I lay in a hospital bed with my right side totally paralyzed, I could not imagine that one day I would be writing books about walking. In the intervening years, I have experienced many levels of healing and have written four Easy Walks books.
Finding a tandem bike I could use has been a journey in and of itself, but once we located one I could get on—and stay on—safely, the sky (or at least as far as we were able to drive) has been the limit in exploring rail-trails. Pedaling along on the back of our tandem, I feel like I am flying. What an intoxicating sensation, after feeling so earthbound by the health challenges I have learned to adapt to these past nearly 30 years.
And then, the pandemic. This past year we have all struggled to cope, and keep ourselves safe from the COVID-19 virus. The outdoors became a refuge for many, a place we could feel safer spending time with family and friends. And yet, this reality meant that the most visible trails (especially well-marked rail-trails!) near where we live became overcrowded. Parking lots were jammed, and people unfamiliar with “rules of the road” were unaware of the challenges of combining bikes, kids and adults with dogs on leashes, all in relatively narrow pathways.........."