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Making the Falls for Everyone

Written by Melissa Dellacato

Taughannock Falls by David Ruether

Taughannock Falls State Park is home to a breathtaking waterfall, natural hiking trails—and accessibility issues. Eleven occupational therapy students in the Play and Leisure course at IC have provided suggestions to change that.

Their instructor, Catherine Gooch, first noticed the accessibility issues when visiting the park last summer. She shared these concerns with her students and provided them with a project outline. They researched accessibility policies and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and they also assessed the park to provide descriptive details that could help increase the park’s accessibility. 

They met with the park manager, John VanValen, to suggest the changes and helped to plan the acquisition of an all-terrain wheelchair made with thicker materials and wider wheels that would allow individuals with disabilities to better enjoy the park.

The park manager has shared the students’ concerns with his team and has already implemented some of the suggested changes. He also hopes to purchase the wheelchair this summer. 



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