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An inclusive eco-excursion route created in the Khakassky Reserve

07 november 2022
“Short Journey 400 million years long” is the first ecotrail of the Khakassky Nature Reserve constructed with supoiort of WWF-Russia for special people with vision impartment

WWF-Russia supported the first in Altai-Sayan inclusive eco-excursion route for people with visual impairments created in the Republic of Khakassia in the Khakassky Nature Reserve. Eco trail is called “Short Journey of 400 million years long” and is located in Oglakhty cluster of the Reserve.

The members of regional representative office of the All-Russian Society of the Blind, the boarding school for children with visual impairments, and the Khakass Republican Special Library for the Blind joined the first excursion along the trail in November to test the route and especially designed objects.



Peopel with visual impairments joining the first ecotrail excursion.
(c) Khakassky Nature Reserve
“Nature is for everyone. In order to attract more people of different groups and societies to ecotourism excursions in national parks or nature reserves it’s essential to create certain conditions and meet standards. In Khakassia, the Eco-trail of Khakassky Nature Reserve is the first trail of this kind. In 2021, more than 200 people (5-8 groups) with disabilities walked along the excursion routes of the reserve. Developing the inclusive trail we intend to increase the number of such groups to 20 per season,” said Anzhelika Bakhtina, employee of Khakassky Nature Reserve.

For the trail, the craftsmen made and installed eight stands specifically designed for blind people with text in Braille. A three-dimensional 3D printings are the distinctive object of the trail that allow you not only see but also feel or "see with your hands" all images of the composition of the stands.

A bright tactile element of the inclusive trail is the sculpture of a giant centipede on a lepidodendron. It is made in full size and clearly shows what sizes arthropods reached in the Carboniferous period.

The sculpture of a giant centipede on a lepidodendron
(c) Khakassky Nature Reserve
“Each time, the Oglakhty cluster becomes a more accessible place for us, the visually impaired people. All the tactile forms presented are beautifully and professionally designed, all the roughness, bulges, clearly convey the subtleties, which, together with the information in Braille, allows us to imagine and feel the territory," comments Alexey Sokolov.

Totally, there are about 2,500 visually impaired people in the Republic of Khakassia. Often people with such limitations have to stay indoors, they may have less opportunities to communicate, and travelling outdoors clearly become a dream for a lot of them.

Thanks to small tactile objects that have natural size and imitate the original texture, information stands in Braille, accompanied by a specially trained expert, it will be easy and convenient for visitors with visual impairments to get acquainted with the grandiose history of the Earth, feel the fragility of the ecological balance and realize the importance of a responsible attitude to nature.

Opening cweremony of the ecotrail
(c) Khakassky Nature Reserve
“It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the Khakassky ecotrail. In Russia the inclusive projects in nature protected areas for people with disabilities are very rare. This idea perfectly reflects the mission of the WWF - the harmony of people and nature. The project was supported by members of WWF-Russia, philanthropists who donate to nature protection. We thank the employees of the Khakassky Reserve for their creative ideas, love for nature and a wide heart,” says Natalya Trofimova, Director of the WWF Representative Office in the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion.

The inclusive ecotrail gives the chance for people with disabilities to brighten weekends. The people with visual impairments can visit this route for free.

Fossils of paleoflora and paleofauna were found on the territory of the Oglakhty site of the Khakassky Reserve. The paleontological excursion route allows you to make a short journey of 400 million years old to learn about the grandiose development of life on the planet, from the first cell to modern man, about how the Khakass-Minusinsk basin was formed, to touch the paleontological finds that allowed scientists to recreate pictures of the past.