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For Release: Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Universal Design Trail and Fishing Pier Open at Birdseye Hollow State Forest

The Event Commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

A new universal design trail and fishing pier at the Birdseye Hollow State Forest and County Park, in Bradford, Steuben County officially opened today, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced. DEC held an event to mark the opening and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"This universal design trail and fishing pier will make Birdseye Hollow State Forest and Birdseye Hollow Pond accessible to people of all abilities," said Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman. "These lands offer visitors some fun-filled recreation or a few peaceful moments, promote a healthy lifestyle and are important economic drivers for the State and local communities. I want to thank Steuben County for collaborating with DEC on construction of this accessible facility and we are proud to have this facility open to help commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We recognize the importance of providing opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy the wonderful recreational opportunities available on state land."

The Trail and fishing pier will provide for fully inclusive activities, advancing the vision of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law, signed on July 26, 1990, changed the landscape of America by providing people with disabilities access to employment, education, public transportation and full community participation. NY Works provided $65,000 the project.

Universal design involves creating products and spaces so that they can be used by the widest range of people possible. A free fishing clinic was held on the newly installed universally accessible fishing pier. The previous fishing platform was in disrepair.

The work was done in conjunction with Steuben County Department of Public Works (DPW). The park area is maintained by Steuben County DPW in cooperation with DEC.

"Steve Catherman and his county bridge crew built the bridge," Steuben County Public Works Commissioner Vince Spagnoletti said. "Scott Burg was instrumental on the DEC side. It was a good teaming up and they deserve the credit."

"This bridge will add to the enjoyment and recreation of visitors to this beautiful park," said Steuben County Legislature Chairman Joe Hauryski. "And it is a fine example of what shared services between the state and county can accomplish."

"People with disabilities enjoy the same outdoor activities as those without disabilities," said John Zick, the director of government and public affairs for AIM Independent Living Center. "Unfortunately, there are often barriers to those activities. This accessible fishing pier and trail give people with disabilities another opportunity to enjoy the state's recreational beauty. Hopefully, similar projects can be undertaken throughout the region."

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