Letter to the Editor: The Value of a Truly Accessible Path

~ Submitted by Leah Devereaux, she/her

You may recognize my name from a story that was written about us by Mike Rosenberg back in October 2020.  My spouse was diagnosed with ALS when I was 7 months pregnant with our second child. We had just moved to Bedford a few months prior to his diagnosis. This town has been nothing short of amazing to our family, and for that we are grateful.

As a family significantly impacted by the need for local accessible/wheelchair friendly places I am strongly in favor of paving the Reformatory Branch Trail. I would LOVE for my children to be able to safely be in nature with their father by their side. Paving the path is not removing nature. It’s making nature accessible. We drove down Lavender Lane today and got to see the beauty of the path.  It was, of course, a huge gut wrenching reminder of another “can’t”, a gorgeous place we can’t go to enjoy due to my spouse requiring a wheelchair.

Image Leah Devereaux (c) 2022 all rights reserved

It is nearly impossible to find a space that’s truly accessible in nature and finding such a place doesn’t come without a ton of additional leg work because most places don’t even disclose the true accessibility. It’s always a guessing game, this path would take the guesswork out. Hiking and mountain biking paths, parks, beaches, lakes, mountains and the list goes on are local and plentiful. The same cannot be said about accessible spaces.

I would like to have safe access to nature, where we can be together as a family, while we still can. Please join me (and hopefully my spouse) in voting yes on article 11 at town meeting on Monday.

Correction 03.27.2022: The letter’s original reference to Lantern Lane has been corrected to Lavender Lane.

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