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For many years Marjorie Turner Hollman has been seeking out Easy Walks throughout southeastern Massachusetts, where she lives. She’s written a series of local trail guides detailing multiple small and larger trails within these areas, and shares helpful information about how to find trail heads, describes trail surfaces and items of interest, indicates where dogs are welcome, and notes how long trails are. Those with mobility issues are her primary audience, but included within that audience are older folks, younger parents with small children, and those recovering from recent injury.
As the Covid-19 pandemic was unfolding, Hollman was working hard to finish her newest book Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Many people not familiar with where their local trails flocked to the most visible trails, which resulted in unsafe overcrowding. A vicious cycle began of overcrowding, and shutting down of these popular trails because the overcrowding exacerbated the problem. People felt forced towards those few outdoor spaces still open, making them even more unsafe. The need for this book took on a feeling of urgency.
Hollman has traveled with her husband to multiple states outside New England, and internationally to Ireland and the Canadian Maritime provinces. Everywhere they go, they look for Easy Walks. Hollman has mobility issues and writes from personal experience. Totally paralyzed on her right side in her mid-thirties, she has recovered enough mobility to enjoy visiting trails using hiking poles for support. The trails she most enjoys are Easy Walks.
Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are focuses on multiple aspects of enjoying time in the outdoors safely. Readers will learn about multiple options for places to look for Easy Walks such as town commons or greens, local nature centers, properties overseen by local land trusts and other conservation organizations, town conservation properties, local, state and national parks, arboretums, local cemeteries, and more.
Hollman offers readers ways to locate these places using such tools as USGS maps, road maps, and even Google Earth. After deciding where you want to go, look in the book for additional advice about what to bring or wear that will make the difference between having a positive outdoor experience and one that convinces you never to set foot on a trail again! Hollman shares essentials that will make for more positive outdoor trail experiences.
The chapter on trail etiquette, as well as cautions about weather, poison ivy, ticks, and wearing blaze orange during hunting season offer solid information that are good reminders for more the experienced, and great pointers for the novice trail visitor. Paying attention to when the sun goes down, bringing along a (working!) headlamp when starting out in the afternoon, and other tips may spare you and or others from serious injury if the unplanned for occurs on the trail.
Rail trail development in multiple communities has been gaining momentum throughout the country, and visitor numbers are increasing. Hollman offers timely advice for avoiding injury on these popular trails, since bicycles, pedestrians, small children, those using in-line skates, and even horseback riders are all making use of these trails.
Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are offers information as well for those responsible for overseeing conservation properties, and explains small (and bigger) steps land stewards can take to make trails more accessible for those with mobility challenges. She also offers suggestions for trail visitors who see trail conditions that are problematic, such as tree falls blocking a trail, and offers practical suggestions for how to helpfully respond when encountering these situations.
There’s a lot packed into this 124 page book, available on Amazon. As Hollman affirms on the back cover of the book, “Regardless of your challenges, the outdoors is not off limits.
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.