A Burgeoning Movement Improves Outdoor Accessibility for the Blind | Sierra Club

A Burgeoning Movement Improves Outdoor Accessibility for the Blind

Inside braille trails, sensory gardens, and more

Photo by Reimphoto/iStock

By
Stacey McKenna

November 15, 2020

Whether he’s hiking in his beloved White Mountains or ascending a distant peak, Randy Pierce pays attention with all of his senses. He listens to the wind as it whistles through a ravine or rustles in a stand of American beech trees. He lets the fragrance of the forest, as it becomes dominated by pine, tell him when he’s reached an elevation milestone. With one hand on a trekking pole and the other on his guide dog’s harness or a friend’s backpack, Pierce feels the ground and focuses on the shifts in his partners’ movements to anticipate roots or rocks in his path. Even the air on his face provides clues about his environment, he says. “People who have been blind all their life are better at it than me, but … I can [...]

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