News release shared by Wildlands Conservancy on June 13, 2024. Photo courtesy of Wildlands Conservancy. 

The newly restored, ADA-compliant boardwalk aims to enhance accessibility and the overall nature preserve visitor experience while promoting environmental education and conservation.

With the overarching goal of connecting more people with nature, the project involved completely renovating the boardwalk to have ADA-compliant features, extending the trail through a paved pathway to a new parking area, and creating accessible amenities.

For the first time since it was built by volunteers 30+ years ago, a total restoration of the boardwalk at Dorothy Rider Pool Wildlife Sanctuary is now complete.

Initiated in alignment with the Sanctuary’s Master Site Plan and accessibility recommendations, the project addressed structural issues and improved trail functionality for mobility-limited visitors. Through collaborations with local technical institutes and volunteer groups, Wildlands actively engaged the community in this project, as well as future stewardship efforts.

It was made possible in great part by the shared time and talent of volunteers. Community and corporate groups, along with individuals, logged 100+ hours in volunteer construction over the past year and half alone.

With a focus on balanced use and preservation, the boardwalk restoration helps ensure the sustainability and accessibility of the Floodplain Trail, while providing a valuable resource for education, recreation, and conservation in the Lehigh Valley.

The boardwalk protects the floodplain of the Little Lehigh Creek as 0.75-miles of it flow through the 77.5-acre Dorothy Rider Pool Wildlife Sanctuary.

Floodplains are ecologically significant areas that reduce flood risk, support water quality and quantity, and habitat sensitive organisms and wildlife.

Annually, almost 10,000 individuals visit the boardwalk, including school-aged children engaged in environmental science, community program participants, and nature-preserve goers who enjoy the local asset for birding, walking, relaxation, and more.

Funding assistance for the boardwalk was provided by neighbors Judith and Joe Kaminski as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, and the John A. and Margaret Post Foundation.

Media Contact: Megan Sciarrino, [email protected].