Harckham Secures $100K State Grant for ADA Trail Access at Teatown Lake Reservation

State Sen. Pete Harckham with (l-r) Teatown Board of Trustees Chair Howard Permut and Teatown Executive Director Kevin Carter. Credit: Office of State Sen. Pete Harckham / James Persons

New York State Senator Pete Harckham announced that he has secured $100,000 in state funding to create ADA-compliant trail access at Teatown Lake Reservation. The ADA access will enable visitors with unique needs to more easily navigate Teatown’s popular Raptor Trail, which includes a variety of birds and animals that have been rehabilitated from serious injuries but cannot be released back into the wild.

“Teatown offers a wide array of enjoyable and educational experiences relating to our natural world, and this new initiative, which I have helped fund, will allow all visitors to see and appreciate some of the remarkable wildlife creatures living in the area,” said Harckham.

Approximately 30,000 people visit Teatown and its 15 miles of trails each year—families, hikers, school groups—including 20,000 students and campers who attend education programs. While there is ADA access to Teatown’s Visitor Center and handicap parking, the ruggedness of the trails makes it difficult for people in wheelchairs to access the loop around the animal enclosures.

Thanks to Harckham’s state funding, Teatown will be able to embark on a $200,000 project to enable access to the Raptor Loop. The project includes the installation of a paved quarter-mile wheelchair-accessible, walker-friendly trail that will connect all the raptor and animal cages, which will enable all visitors to enjoy this popular educational attraction. The new trail will also reduce the probability of trips and falls by visitors with mobility issues. Teatown’s animal exhibits are open year-round to the general public.

The Raptor Loop is adjacent to Teatown’s Visitor Center. Harckham recently visited Teatown to share news of the funding.

“Teatown has been a much-treasured resource for its local community for 60 years,” said Kevin Carter, executive director of Teatown Lake Reservation. “Since that time, we have connected hundreds of thousands of people to nature on our 1,000-acre preserve. By creating new accessible pathways, such as those championed by Senator Harckham, we are enabling people of all physical abilities to connect with the joy of nature at Teatown.”

The awarded grant funding was secured within the State and Municipal Facilities Program (SAM). SAM funding is appropriated by the State Legislature and administered by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) to support community and economic development. Harckham delivered more than $5,000,000 of state grant funding to municipalities and nonprofits in Senate District 40 last year.

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