With the good weather finally here, my Aunt Nancy, Jowanna, Tony and I headed to Watson State Pond to go fishing. The park hasn’t officially open for the season so there was no charge. The Seasonal facility is officially open: Late May – Early September; the cost of admission is $5.00; a seasonal pass is $35.00; and a bus pass is $30.00.
Entering the parking lot, you will only find one handicap parking space. The handicap parking sign is hard to see because its posted low on the fence; and there is no painted handicap accessible symbol on the pavement. Most of the terrain consists of wood chips, dirt and grass which I found difficult to wheel on in my manual chair. I wish I had brought my Permobil C350 Power Chair. If you have a power wheelchair you shouldn’t have any problems maneuvering around the grounds of the park. There is only one paved pathway in the entire park and it is to the restroom.
There are many picnic areas within the park, yet none have accessible picnic tables. Most of these picnic areas are accessible via wheelchair yet the terrain can be very difficult to wheel on. Also there is an area at the bottom of steep hill and it would be impossible to get my wheelchair to this area. There are stairs to get to this area but no wheelchair accessible ramps.
None of the picnic tables in this park are wheelchair accessible; the new tables are not even accessible. I love it when I go to other parks and see wheelchair accessible picnic tables for it makes me feel included when I’m eating with my friends instead of eating away from the table. I’ve seen various kinds of wonderful accessible picnic tables; some have a section of the bench removed for a wheelchair and some tables have a longer overhang allowing me to fit at the table comfortably.
Down at the far end of Watson pond is a pavilion which has a ramp on both sides. Unfortunately these ramps have a missing lip at the beginning which makes it very difficult for a person in a wheelchair to wheel onto the ramp. If you can get onto the ramp it would be a very nice place to get out of the hot sun and have lunch on the picnic tables.
The best place to fish at the pond is by the pavilion. My Aunt and I love to fish!! It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy Mother Nature. I also love to bird watch as you can see by clicking on my page Access Bluebirds and I noticed the park has a few bird houses hanging on trees. This park is a wonderful place to just to relax, pull out your binoculars and watch all the beautiful birds. Be careful because there is no feeding the geese and ducks and remember to keep your pets on a leash.
One of my favorite places to go during the summer is the beach and Watson State Park has a beach. It is a small man made sandy area that is enclosed in by a wooden fence. I can’t tell you what my experience was at this beach because it is still off season and it was closed. A sign is posted saying there are no lifeguards on duty at this beach.
The park has a children’s playground that has thick wood chips for terrain is very hard to wheel over in a manual wheelchair. The restrooms were locked so I was not able to determine its wheelchair accessibility. I will be definitely back this summer to fish and check out the beach. I will update this review when I do so.
I give Watson Pond State Park TWO STARS for wheelchair accessibility. In order to earn the other Three Stars they need to place a few more handicap accessible parking spaces in the parking lot; pave some accessible pathways throughout the park; repair the ramps on the pavilion making them flush with the ground; place some accessible picnic tables in the park; provide wheelchair access to the picnic area that is down the a hill by placing an accessible ramp next to the staircase; and change the children’s playground terrain to an accessible terrain so a child in a wheelchair can wheel and play in this playground.