Keeping the Bay Wild—And Accessible
The San Francisco Bay Reserve’s China Camp site is home to a vibrant ecosystem that most residents and visitors can enjoy via an extensive trail system. Unfortunately, barriers can make it difficult for those with disabilities to have the same opportunities to explore this extraordinary patch of “wild” in one of the nation’s most important biodiversity hotspots.
“The value of accessible trails is the ability to get the disabled community out into the wilderness and learn about how important nature is to us,” says Nyri Scanlon, a research assistant at the Reserve who drew attention to accessibility issues on China Camp’s Turtle Back Nature Trail. “Even though my motorized wheelchair is heavy duty, the trail was too rough and rocky.”
This observation spurred an extensive project to create an ADA compliant path that is accessible for those in wheelchairs or with walkers, families with strollers, and people who can’t access non-compliant trails for other reasons. The project aimed to connect the newly renovated trail to the local community and showcase it as a resource and educational opportunity.
To celebrate the trail’s completion, the Reserve organized a walk in partnership with Friends of China Camp and Marin Lifehouse Agency, an organization that supports adults with physical and developmental disabilities. Fourteen participants completed the hike, with plenty of stops along the way to learn about the vibrant salt marsh habitat and endemic plants and animals like the federally endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse.
“The trail at Turtle Back is excellent to be on,” says Nyri. “It is right up to the edge of the marsh. Trails are getting improved every day around the Bay Area, and I would like to encourage more events like this.”