The trail is located on Jordan Pond.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK (AP) j – The first handicapped-accessible trail around Acadia National Park’s Jordan Pond has opened to people with disabilities.

The trail, which was christened Monday, is the first of several such trails that are scheduled to be built around the pond.

The project is part of a collaborative effort between the park and Friends of Acadia, which have raised $13 million between them for trail improvements and maintenance under the Acadia Trails Forever program.

Crystal Hall of Bar Harbor, who has muscular dystrophy and has lobbied park officials for years to open up trails to the disabled, navigated the trail on her wheelchair.

“I was delighted,” Hall said. “It was a pleasure to get that close to the pond. I think that’s the closest I’ve ever been to it, and I’m thrilled they’re doing more (improvements) like that.”

Friends of Acadia on Monday presented Acadia officials with a check for $64,000 toward the cost of building handicapped-accessible trails at Jordan Pond and other venues at the popular park.

The money came from the group’s Acadia Trails Forever fund, which will be used to upgrade the park’s entire 130-mile trail system, create an endowment for long-term maintenance and finance the Acadia Youth Conservation Corps and the Ridge Runner program.

Ken Olson, president of Friends of Acadia, said the park will construct a series of new trails around the pond over time.

He said the Acadia Trails Forever fund includes $128,000 for wheelchair-accessible projects, but he didn’t rule out budgeting more money for the special trails.

Hall used to visit Acadia without her wheelchair before suffering from muscular dystrophy and said she hopes someday to be able to navigate down to Sand Beach, where she played as a child.

“That’s my major goal,” Hall said.

The opening of the new Jordan Pond trail coincided with the anniversary of the National Park Service, which was created on Aug. 25, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson approved legislation creating the park service.

AP-ES-08-27-03 0216EDT

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