Jackson Celebrates New Accessible Nature Trail

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Parrish Stahl is a self-described nature lover.

And even though he uses a wheelchair, he doesn't let that get in the way of his love of the outdoors.

"I think people forget sometimes that people with disabilities are outdoorsmen," Stahl said.

"We're fisherman and hunters and nature walkers and just love to be outside and there's not a lot of places around where a person using a mobility device can move around easily."

Stahl was one of several individuals who came out to Saturday's ribbon cutting of Jackson's newest natural trail, dubbed the "Nature For All Trail."

Rod Malloy, executive director with the Dahlem Center said being as inclusive as possible was a top priority when designing the new trail.

"The real heart and spirit behind the trail is to make it inclusive for everybody," Malloy said. "This is a trail that truly is wide open because nature is for everybody."

Malloy said a lot of thought went into the process of deciding on the type of surface to use for the trail.

"It's a natural trail that is compacted and cured over time and it's green," he said. "It's an excitement for us to see this trail and know that it's the first green trail in Michigan.

And that excitement isn't lost on Stahl.

"You can't tell this is an accessible trail," Stahl said. "It's a marvel of design and I hope it's an example that a lot of zoos and a lot of public areas and the national parks will use."

The Dahlem Center offers about five miles of nature trails and is open year round.

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