Bridgewater Retirement Community develops new walking trails

walking path
(© Kristina Blokhin –

Bridgewater Retirement Community is working on new walking trails that will be open to the public and will complement existing trails and parks in the town of Bridgewater.

The new trails, which will be located off Will Lane next to Oakdale Park, are made up of a mix of fully accessible 8-foot-wide paved walkways and 6-foot-wide gravel paths. They will provide access to several destinations and viewpoints, including a natural playground, an outdoor classroom, a swamp walk, a woods viewpoint, and more.

The 20-acre site is ecologically diverse with woods, a pond, native grasslands, natural streams and an expansive grassland.

“We want this natural area to be a resource for our entire community,” said BRC President Rodney Alderfer. “We love the idea of ​​primary school children coming on field trips, nature lovers exploring the site and Bridgewater College classes coming as well. And our residents crave a place to walk nearby where they can discover nature. »

The project is made possible by funding from BRC residents, Edgar and Kathy Simmons, who have made a special contribution to the BRC Foundation for this purpose.

“Plans were drawn up about three years ago for additional outdoor space that would meet the needs of local residents,” said Edgar Simmons. “It was time to do something. People can enjoy spending time on these trails in a park-like setting. I like to know that the natural space reserved for the trails will be a protected space.

“We know how important environmental wellbeing is to leading active and engaged lives,” said Carrie Budd, Vice President of the BRC Foundation. “It’s true whether you’re 10 or 80. This addition to our campus will provide residents of all walks of life the opportunity to explore, picnic, spend time with family, and more. “

The land, which was donated to BRC in 2000 by Paige and Ann Will, had once been seen as an opportunity to expand BRC’s Independent Living Village. In 2018, as it became clear that the BRC was the size it should be for the foreseeable future, the BRC changed course and began to reinvent the site as an outdoor destination for BRC residents. and the community at large.

BRC has contracted Harrisonburg-based architectural firm Monteverde to develop a plan and will work with Monteverde to complete the project. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held in May. BRC hopes to open the trails in the fall.

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