This award recognizes a project that demonstrates the integration of accessibility characteristics into its design and construction.
A new smooth, natural pathway with benches, accessible trailside restrooms, and viewing platform provides a more accessible wildlife experience.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a 2,600-acre natural area in southeastern Pennsylvania that is famous for the world's first refuge for birds of prey. The Hawk Mountain South Lookout provides scenic views across the Lehigh Valley and the National Scenic Appalachian Trail.
The steep grade to the lookout limited many individuals from viewing migrating birds of prey. Two years of planning and consultation led to the new accessible Silhouette Trail, named for a series of metal raptor silhouettes at the sanctuary’s entrance.
The trails’ smooth, natural pathway is ADA-compliant with a gentler slope averaging eight percent. Trail enhancements include benches with a middle handrail, accessible trailside restrooms, and upgrades and access to the educational area and viewing platform.
The Silhouette Trail opened on July 26, 2015. The sanctuary credits the project success to its broad planning team, which helped evaluate plans, tested accessibility during construction, and before public use. This project is described as “one of the greatest inclusionary outcomes in the entire region.”