Page 88 article text (OCR)
The Gentle Trail '' Bhoto.essaV} liiv If ran k Wi I k i n : }_-JÂ»-;..-:- By H. C. Gadd There's a gentle, nature trail at Huntington Galleries, opened two weeks ago. It's short--only 2,200 feet--but packed with hours and hours of outdoor enjoyment. The official name for this little bit of heaven is "The Gentle Trail," because it was developed to permit the blind, handicapped, young, and elderly to experience the fragrant, lovely world so many of us take for granted. Actually, there are three Galleries nature trails in Park Hills: the Spice Bush,' the Oak Tree, and the Tulip Tree trails. Gentle Trail is part of Tulip Tree, but considerable thoughtfulness and work brought about its distinction as something special. Although it is short, there are 40 information station posts on Gentle, a guide- wire to help the blind, and rest benches for those who tire quickly. Plant information on the posts is given in both braille and visual type. Such information is much more complete and helpful than is customary on nature trails. Plants are identified by their common and Latin names, but they are also described for visual identification and tactile observation. One section of the trail is known as the "Fragrance Garden," where walkers pass lambs ear, mint, dill, basil, and chives. Another section calls attention to textures: Pinks, Frog's Pond, Sedum, ferns, Hen and Chickens. There are nasturtiums, marigolds, geraniums, Rhododendron, and Christmas Ferns; autumn olive, black walnut, red oak and slippery elm trees; white cushion moss, fungi, blueberries, wild grapes, and a tangle of Greenbrier. Attention is called to shale underfoot and it is explained. Of course, trees and plants are linked to their role in the natural food chain to give them a deeper significance than mere beauty. "This is food for grouse." "These seeds (and berries) attract songbirds." The Gentle Trail ends at a picnic table, but the walkers have already had their feast. And, the best part of it all is, they can go back and back and back.