A nature trail especially for children on the autism spectrum is one step closer to reality at a New York state park.

Letchworth State Park is one of the most beautiful in all of New York. A retired school administrator from Batavia is heading up a group of people to make the park even more welcoming for children who are on the autism spectrum.

Credit: Autism Nature Trail/autismnaturetrail.com

The administrator, Loren Penman, tells WXXI News that the ambitious project started years ago when she had a conversation with a neighbor, whose grandson, Ali, is autistic. “She went on to tell me that Ali had autism, and at 7 years old had no language and was almost always in a state of agitation except when she brought him to visit Letchworth State Park,” said Penman.

Credit: Autism Nature Trail/autismnaturetrail.com

Penman drew on her years of experience as a school administrator, and built a coalition to begin to make the dream of an autism nature trail a reality.

The trail is a one-mile loop that is handicapped-accessible and contains paths, a maze, and a music circle, and among other inclusive options that encourage interaction with nature. The coalition has raised nearly $2 million dollars, and needs to raise another $2 million to complete the project.

To learn more about the project, or to contribute, you can visit AutismNatureTrail.com.