Pinelands Preservation Alliance

Initiative: The Pinelands is for Everyone
Grant years: 2021–22, 2022–23

Experiencing the natural areas of the New Jersey Pinelands can be difficult, if not impossible, for people with physical or other disabilities. A lack of access and accommodations leave visitors feeling unwanted, unsafe, and uncomfortable. Barriers include a limited number of trails and adaptive outdoor equipment and a lack of information on the few accessible places that do exist.

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance is allying with individuals with disabilities, organizations dedicated to the welfare of those with disabilities, and public and private landowning agencies to help overcome barriers so everyone can experience the Pinelands’ parks, forests, and preserves. The Pinelands Is for Everyone project involves several initiatives:

• Creating forums for people with disabilities and caregivers to be heard, including virtual town hall meetings and focus groups and a regular Access Nature Forum and newsletter.

• Publishing a mobile-friendly website to provide detailed information and images of accessible trails and scenic locations.

• Helping state, local, and nonprofit land managers create more accessible trails and facilities.

• Offering guided nature trips that are designed for everyone, including people with disabilities, through the PPA’s Pinelands Adventures outfitter, and test all-terrain wheelchairs to lend to participants for use on these nature trips.

• Using images, videos, and testimonials to demonstrate that everyone can explore the Pinelands if appropriate trails, facilities, and programs are available.