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For Release: Tuesday, October 11, 2022

DEC Announces Completion of New Accessible Trail at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center

Fisher Trail Expands Access to Outdoor Recreational Opportunities for People of All Ages and Abilities

New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the completion of the Fisher Trail at DEC's Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in the town of Bethlehem, Albany County. Most of the trail's 0.66-mile length is constructed in compliance with DEC accessibility guidelines for people with mobility disabilities and expands access to outdoor recreation opportunities on DEC lands. The trail was officially opened to the public during a ribbon cutting at Five Rivers with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, Friends of Five Rivers, members of the DEC Accessibility Advisory Committee, and other partners.

"The outdoors belong to everyone, and completion of this new trail at Five Rivers will reduce barriers between individuals with disabilities and the beauty of DEC's lands," Commissioner Seggos said. "DEC appreciates the partnership of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, and support from Friends of Five Rivers and the Accessibility Advisory Board, which were all vital to completing this new outdoor footpath and further enhance the offerings at Five Rivers."

As part of the trail project, DEC Operations crews constructed an elevated viewing platform and installed several accessible benches along the trail. The trail largely follows a route laid out by members of the Student Conservation Association AmeriCorps program. Two new parking lots, each with a map and information kiosk, are available off Fisher Boulevard and the end of Mason Lane.

The project was funded with $400,000 from NY Works and the Adventure NY initiative. DEC is making strategic investments through Adventure NY to improve access to state land and water, rehabilitate and improve campgrounds, and upgrade DEC recreational facilities. To learn more about DEC's Adventure NY Infrastructure Improvement projects, go to DEC's website.

Part of the new trail is on a 35-acre parcel owned by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC). The parcel is managed as part of Five Rivers through a 2018 easement agreement with DEC.

Fisher Trail is named for the fisher, a member of the weasel family found at Five Rivers, and for Fisher Boulevard. The half-mile portion of the Fisher Trail that is accessible to people with mobility disabilities runs from Fisher Boulevard past the Mason Lane parking area to a viewing platform overlooking the Phillipinkill. From there, the trail continues down a steep slope into the ravine of the Phillipinkill and on to the Wild Turkey Trail. The Wild Turkey Trail connects with Five Rivers' other trails and ends at the Visitor Center at Game Farm Road.

"The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy is very pleased to have played a role in the proportion of the Fisher Boulevard property," said Mark King, Executive Director of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. "Thankfully, a generous landowner and the hard work of many individuals saved this parcel from potential development. The new access and trails across this new property will further enhance Five Rivers and will create new opportunities for even more people to enjoy this wonderful resource."

Friends of Five Rivers interim President Andrea Ricard said, "Friends of Five Rivers is thrilled with the opening of the new, much anticipated Fisher Trail. This trail will only enhance a walker's experience by providing yet another beautiful and peaceful opportunity to connect with nature."

Kathryn Carroll, Esq., Vice Chair of DEC's Accessibility Advisory Committee and Disability and Program Director for the Association on Aging in New York, said, "An accessible trail means more value, more enjoyment, more potential use for anyone, with or without a disability and of any age. It's here on whichever day someone can visit, alone or in company, and for whatever purpose they need - fitness, a change of scenery, or nearness to nature. This benefits all of us, and is just one of myriad things we need to advance in our parks and public lands."

DEC's Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, comprising more than 450 acres of fields, forests, and wetlands. To learn more, visit DEC's website.

To learn more about MHLC, visit their website (leaves DEC website).

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