|Photo from escapingtoparadise.com|
The facilities have been closed since last summer to complete upgrades that now allow individuals with disabilities access to the falls, and participation opportunities for rock climbing.
“The design provides two means for gaining access to the river corridor,” said Brenda Curtis, DNR recreation planner with the Parks and Recreation Division.
The recent improvements, which were achieved with grant monies from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Recreation Trail Fund, include installation of a universally accessible ramp that gradually descends to a paved rock patio adjacent to the river.
The second means of gaining access to the river is through a new, natural rock wall built into the hillside. One of the two specific routes for scaling the rock wall was developed for individuals with disabilities, through careful placement of the rocks at various heights and widths, and by providing transfer “rocks” at the top and bottom.
“Individuals can find their own climbing route anywhere along the rock face for their greatest climbing challenge,” Curtis said. “It was our goal to make this a family-friendly facility that will allow all family members, no matter their age or physical capabilities, the means by which to enjoy all that this area offers in recreational experiences.”
Additional improvements include the enlargement and resurfacing of the parking lot; installation of an accessible walking trail between the falls' overlook area, parking lot and campground; new picnic areas with tables and grills at the overlook; and new restrooms.
This state forest trail is now a designated state forest recreation area. As a result, the Recreation Passport is now required to be displayed on motor vehicles using the parking areas. To learn more about accessibility in Michigan’s state parks, visit www.michigan.gov/dnraccessibility.