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We're planning a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, USA. It would be in July or August. We'll be spending two days, with a night in a hotel in one of the surrounding towns. (We haven't chosen that spot yet!)

Our group includes able-bodied hikers and climbers; and people who need wheelchairs, walkers and canes. The park is large, with several different types of terrain, so we think it's a good choice for a mixed group.

It's mostly a mission to see and record as many types of birds as we can, including ocean birds; and report the data to an environmental conservation group. We also want to just explore and have fun!

Obviously the more able-bodied will have the best viewing opportunities, and the freedom to be adventurous. They'll take turns helping the the rest of us, but we'd like to be as independent as possible.

Which road has the best accessible areas to see the most birds? We want to be in the woods, by the ocean or both. Handicapped parking would be nice, but is not necessary if it would limit our opportunities.

Where are there flat, or mostly flat, trails? What about wooden or gravel trails that wheelchairs can handle? The itinerary is customized for the wheelchair bound, but they can stop at nice places on a trail while the device-aided walkers venture farther.

I'm sure there are accessible lookouts along the roads, but we want to go deeper into the park to experience nature and fulfill our birding mission.

I don't want to be off-topic by just asking for opinions, but in our situation experience would be very helpful.

There must be good information somewhere with guidelines and directions or maps. I'd appreciate those too.

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  • Map and Accessibility Guide for Arcadia National Park. nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/upload/AccessibilityGuide.pdf - I hope this helps. – PV22 Jul 17 '18 at 21:42
  • This is perfect! If you want to just add a few sentences to expand it, it's definitely worth becoming an answer. There's a lot of good information and it would be nice for people to see it. That's up to you of course!! – Sue Jul 19 '18 at 19:53
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I am an avid birder in and around Acadia National Park.

Acadia National Park is one of the most accessible national parks in the system when it comes to major locations and their accessibility. Therefore locations right off the Park Loop Road can provide excellent birding opportunities. I would suggest these locations in and around the park.

  1. Sieur de Monts Springs- warblers, flycatchers, woodpeckers, sparrows, great location with very easy walking trails that are even wheelchair accessible and in the Wild Gardens of Acadia located in the Sieur de Monts area.

  2. Wonderland Trail - coniferous forest to the ocean. Easy walking trail, not ada accessible but very easy. Kinglets, Chickadees, Warblers, Shorebirds, Waterfowl

  3. Seawall Picnic Area - great coastal spot for waterfowl and shorebirds. With a scope it becomes even better.

  4. Eagle Lake Carriage Roads - cracked stone road, very flat in and around the beginning near the Eagle Lake Carriage road entrance. Mixed woods and lake species. Wheelchair accessible

I hope this helps!

  • Hi Patrick! This is great information! Thank you so much for taking the time to help us! – Sue Jul 15 '18 at 16:57
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You can also expand the list of accessible routes, and the distance traveled along them, by using a more capable wheelchair. Products such as the GRIT Freedom Chair while designed for outdoor recreation by fit wheelchair riders, are also much easier for able bodied friends of the wheelchair rider to help push, due to their long wheelbases and larger wider wheels. They are also more stable on uneven terrain. The Whirlwind Roughrider is another example. Group members who have limited walking capability who do not typically use wheelchairs in daily life in part due to social stigma, may actually find their safety vs falls enhanced, and their functional mobility significantly improved by this type of wheelchair. This is especially true in the company of trusted friends/family who would be more than happy to help push in order to have the benefit of that persons company.

  • These are great ideas, thanks! I've seen various designs, but not exactly like these. They're very practical for a situation like ours. I hope more people check them out! – Sue Jul 19 '18 at 19:48

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