Beckett & Raeder, Inc. was retained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to provide design and engineering services for an Access to Recreation project at J. W. Wells State Park, near Escanaba, Michigan. The Access to Recreation program encourages universal design, going above and beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to promote increased recreational access to people with disabilities through design solutions that accommodate people of all ability levels.
The playground feature is Universally designed and also accessible by wheelchairs. One of the wheelchair ramps is installed over the river bed. The stones along the river bed act as a transfer device into the river bed. Irrigation misters installed into the dry river bed are an added play feature. Custom panels were placed to help identify the location of the State Park in relation to the state of Michigan and the great lakes.
The trail connection linked the campground with the under utilized day use area. Beginning at the campground, the trail leads away from the historic building and into the wooded area along the drainage stream. The path links elements such as the pavilion structure, beach access, horseshoe pits, totem pole, playground and parking area. In the day use area, the sidewalk was realigned to address safety considerations of cyclists biking to and through the picnic pavilion.
The path material is stabilized gravel in the upland areas and floating boardwalk in any wet or sensitive locations. The floating boardwalk surface was proposed due not only to the sensitivity of the site, but also to alert users to this fragile ecosystem.
J.W. Wells State Park
MDNR Access to Recreation Project
2016 Landscape Architectural Sustainability Honor Award
Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects