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Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Funds Help Bring Changes to Oklahoma State University (OSU) Botanical Garden

The botanical garden at OSU is undergoing improvements with the help of RTP grant funding.

by American Trails Staff

Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services

The Oklahoma State University Botanical Garden covers 100-acres and is located just west of Stillwater, Oklahoma. The garden features walking trails as well as being home to OSU horticultural research. The garden also serves as a back drop for the television program Oklahoma Gardening.

Garden Director Lou Anella gave an interview about the new features, saying, “With more than 40,000 people visiting the garden annually, we want to make this space the best it can be. The biggest change right now is one of convenience. When visitors entered the property from the south entrance, they had a bit of a hike from the parking lot down into the garden itself. With the installation of a paved road that leads from the south parking lot directly to a new parking lot at the heart of the garden, visitors will now have an easier time getting into the space, especially those with limited mobility.”

Part of the changes include creating a Treewalk Village, which was paid for with the help of a Recreational Trails Grant from the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. The Treewalk village will consist of ramps and platforms around the oak trees in the garden. This will be an exciting new permanent feature for all ages and abilities, and is disability accessible.

Anella was quoted as saying, “The platforms are connected by rope bridges. We’ve applied for another Recreational Trails Grant and hopefully we can expand Treewalk Village to include even more fun elements. We’re always trying to do things to get children interested in horticulture and think of the botanic garden as a fun place to go. The garden is a great place to introduce kids to horticulture, hiking and the great outdoors.”

“People love the garden and in this time of COVID-19, we’re seeing more families coming to the garden because it’s easy to socially distance here. The garden is a great safe escape and refuge for families needing to get out of the house. Because we’re a university garden, we’re much smaller than other botanic gardens people may have visited. But, we have lots of beauty to share. An advantage of being small is we can focus on things people can do at home in their own garden.”

Published May 2021

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