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John Dillon Park Makes the Adirondacks Accessible to All

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2019-07-09 16:14:00

Everyone knows that the Adirondacks are brimming with mountain peaks and shimmering lakes. But for some, getting there can be difficult. Luckily, John Dillon Park, located just outside of the town of Long Lake in the heart of the Adirondacks, offers a wheelchair-accessible wilderness experience for those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to fully enjoy all that this region’s natural landscapes have to offer.

The park, which is owned by International Paper and managed by Paul Smith’s college, is the first and only one of its kind in the Adirondacks. It was established to recognize retired International Paper CEO and Paul Smith’s alum John Dillon, who envisioned a place where everyone could enjoy the Adirondacks’ natural landscape. Paul Smith’s students welcome guests, lead tours, chop firewood and maintain miles of trails, and park staff is always happy to assist with any specific requests from visitors. The park is protected by a conservation easement donated by International Paper and will remain forever wild, showing how well-managed forests, recreation and conservation benefit both land and people.

John Dillon Park provides access to both woods and water. Grampus Lake surrounds the park’s edge, and visitors have the chance to go for a boat ride or set out for a paddle in a canoe or kayak from the wheelchair accessible dock, which is also a popular spot for fishing.

There is also an extensive network of trails for hiking and exploring, all of which are fully wheelchair accessible and either flat or very gently sloped. The trails wind through the woods and past a variety of natural habitats that various types of wildlife call home, including various types of birds and other woodland creatures. Wildlife viewing is a popular activity at the park, with overlooks like Osprey Point, where a family of ospreys have made their home for the past eighteen years, providing the chance to observe wildlife in its own natural habitat.

Campers will be pleased to find the park offers fully accessible camping as well. There are nine different ADA-compliant lean-to sites, one of which can be reached by car; each lean-to is equipped with a fold-down bed, fireplace, and picnic area, as well as other necessary amenities. Drinking water is available and firewood is delivered daily. Bear-proof food storage is available on site. The park uses solar energy, with solar-powered composting outhouses at each campsite, and portable solar rechargers for battery-powered wheelchairs are available as well. With all the needed amenities on hand, all there’s left to do is enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings and relax into vacation mode.
For more information on John Dillon Park, including specific details on amenities, accessibility and reservations, check out the park’s website or Facebook page.

PHOTO CREDITS: John Dillon park welcome center photo credit John Dillon Park
Lake at John Dillon Park photo credit John Dillon Park
Accessible hiking path photo credit John Dillon Park
Accessible lean to photo credit John Dillon Park
Lake overlook photo credit John Dillon Park

posted at: 2019-07-09 16:14:00, last updated: 2021-04-06 16:36:06

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