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Accessible Trail in Val Serenaia

On foot Accessible Trail        

     Alpi Apuane Park has created its first "accessible trail".
    It is situated in Val Serenaia, in the bag between Garfagnana and Lunigiana, and it has been prepared within a project including other interventions of environmental requalification and trail recovery, with the precise aim of placing a "first brick" for the fruition of the protected area also by disabled people.
    The works terminated at the end of 2001, and the official inauguration took place on 29th June 2003.
    Such structure has been prepared in location Orto di Donna, in the Municipality of Minucciano, on the northern Apuane: it is surrounded by a typically alpine environment consisting of beech tree woods of great beauty, in the east of Mt. Pisanino, along Serenaia valley, in a large and charming basin of glacial origin dating back to the Wurmian period (20-18 million years ago) where the stream Serchio di Gramolazzo springs.
    The route, equipped for the accessibility of people with disabilities both with motor and sight problems, leaves from nearby a rest area situated on the last hairpin bend of the asphalt road reaching the quarries of Orto di Donna, and develops for a length of about 500 m with a maximum difference in height, for short stretches, around the 5%: it has been delimited on both sides by wooden kerb with a twofold aim, that is to make walking safer for people with motor difficulties and to work as a tactile kerb for blind people. Most of the trail is delimited by a wooden fence, useful as a support and handrail to protect and favor the walking about of stretches with a greater slope.

    In order to cover uneven stretches represented by stream beds present in the valley, two wooden crossings with relative support and protection fences have been built.
    In order to give the visitors the possibility to autonomously move, particular building techniques and specific materials have been used: as a matter of fact, the paving has mainly been made with a product called "Sacatrasparent" which favors and differentiates the tactile perception of people stepping on it.
    Along the route, two rest areas delimited by stockades have been created: within them, tables and benches have been placed in order not to hinder walking.
    Along the same trail you can also find two perception areas for blind people, enabling them to recognize by touch some features of Apuane: as a matter of fact, there are some rock samples (photo), with relief-labels, also in Braille, identifying their typology, as well as branch samples gathered and displayed in showcases, whose relief-labels, also in Braille, identify the species they belong to.
    In the parking area at the beginning of the trail, some places reserved to disabled people will be available soon, as well as information panels placed at an adequate height: they will be placed also along the trail and will contain information - also in Braille - on the Orto di Donna area and on the naturalistic, historical, and landscape features of the territory, with some information on the issues linked to the project.

    As far as the immediate future is concerned, there is already a preliminary project to complete the above-described trail, which will be equipped in the same way for 450 m more with "Sacatrasparent" paving, a rest area and an area of olfactive perception, as well as with tactile information panels.
    Moreover, we want to actively involve people with disabilities in the financed project through a one week-long stage dedicated to the persons who want to collaborate in the activities, by adopting specific measures of personal safety, helping them in carrying out easy manual support operations such as the planting of forest essences, the transport of small objects, the maintenance of rest areas, the painting of the wooden fences, and other easy activities. Professional staff will constantly follow the activities of disabled persons taking part in the stage and will hold a short training course dedicated to tourist operators interested in the problems linked to accessibility.
    Moreover, the current managers of Val Serenaia and Orto di Donna mountain huts are going to create facilities in order to enable disabled persons to access their structures. The latter are already partly equipped with adequate services, despite the regulations in force do not force such structures to provide this kind of service. It regards above all the installation of easy and safe automatic stairlift platforms.
    Moreover, since Orto di Donna mountain hut is not currently accessible to disabled subjects for its collocation, an adequately equipped all-terrain vehicle will be bought to transport persons from Val Serenaia, where the equipped trail is situated, to the mountain hut: a shuttle service aiming at linking both the accommodation structures and the various natural and environmental aspects present in the valley and in the northern part of Alpi Apuane Park.

    However, the accessibility projects do not regard only Orto Di Donna: during the next interventions for the enhancement of the botanic gardens of Pian Della Fioba, also accessibility measures dedicated to disabled people will be taken. Among the other things, the creation of wooden footbridges in the first part of the trail and the elimination of architectural barriers within the restructuring activities of Pian Della Fioba mountain hut will be carried out.

    ... everything to eliminate the barriers from Apuane, to transform it into an accessible Park, with particular attention to people with disabilities!

     


     
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