A long-term goal at Schlitz Audubon is to expand our fully accessible trails that give all visitors more freedom to explore nature, regardless of age or ability. Over the past two years, we have grown this trail network. This fall we added an accessible boardwalk crossing over Mystery Pond. Relocating this trail route also serves to secure the south ravine it leads toward.
Since the opening of our Welcome Booth, we have recognized an opportunity to improve the entrance area for visitors who arrive by foot, wheelchair, or with a stroller. By creating a new trail that will roughly flank the entrance road, visitors can bypass vehicles waiting to check in. This will create a safer entrance for both drivers and pedestrians. Once checked in, pedestrians can continue on the new trail segment to connect with the West Meadows trail loop, or in the near future, proceed directly to the main building on an additional new connector trail. Go here to see our current trail map.
With the completion of the new entrance and connector trails, we will offer visitors a complete, wheelchair accessible loop leading from the entrance, to the education center, and to Mystery Lake and the Amphitheater. This loop will extend more than a mile and lead visitors through prairie, savanna, and wetland habitats, greatly increase access for all visitors, and offer additional educational opportunities for school groups visiting on field trips.
Creation of our fully-accessible, ADA-friendly trail loop will also allow us to retire older trails that tend to become saturated and muddy. By restoring these habitats with native plants, we will reestablish the ability of the soil to absorb water, helping to increase biotic diversity and ecosystem functions.
When reconsidering our trails we have opportunities to improve our visitor experience
while improving native habitat. We already have these additional projects scoped and planned; however constructing trails is time intensive and costly. You can help build the trails for present and future generations of explorers by donating to Schlitz Audubon. To learn more about how you can help us blaze new trails, contact Melanie Johnson, Schlitz Audubon Director of Development at 414-352-2880 x152.