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Goshen Parks and Recreation to host a family movie night at Shanklin Park

Friday, July 19, 2024

Goshen’s Parks and Recreation Department is hosting its second movie in the park this summer on Friday, August 2nd at 7 p.m. at Shanklin Park, featuring the 2023 Pixar film “Elementals.” Bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy this family-friendly movie on the big screen. A concession stand will... more

Tentative dates for Norfolk Southern railroad crossing closures announced

Thursday, July 11, 2024

The City of Goshen’s Engineering Department announced during Thursday’s Board of Works meeting a tentative timeline for the upcoming railroad crossing closures by Norfolk Southern. The City’s engineering department has been in communication with Norfolk Southern since the city was notified last week... more

Update on upcoming Norfolk Southern crossing closures

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Last week, the City of Goshen informed residents that Norfolk Southern plans to close several crossings throughout the month of July to install new rails with an approximate start date of July 8th. The work is now expected to begin on Tuesday, July 9th, or Wednesday, July 10th, and will continue through... more

Upcoming Events All »

CANCELLED City Council

Monday, July 22, 2024, 6:00pm

To view a live stream of this meeting, go to or call +1 305 224 1968, Webinar ID: 816 5277 7559. Comments are no longer taken online.

Shade Tree Board

Monday, July 22, 2024, 7:00pm

This meeting is in-person only.

Board of Zoning Appeals

Tuesday, July 23, 2024, 4:00pm

To view the webinar, please copy and paste this link on your browser: Or call: (301) 715-8592 or 312 626 6799 Webinar ID: 890 5155 7762

Ashley VanVurst Sensory Trail

Backyard Habitat   E-Blog  Events   Climate Action   Forestry  Electric Vehicles   Zero Waste   Sensory Trail

Ashley VanVurst Sensory Trail

What is it all about? The City of Goshen, ADEC, Inc. and Goshen College partnered to connect persons with disabilities to the natural environment's physiological and psychological benefits by utilizing technology. The project provides supportive tools where persons with disabilities can interact with nature in an immersive and physical way. This project was the first known of its kind to utilize technology to connect residents and visitors to a local community’s natural environment and its vibrant community of living things through the creation of a free downloadable app of natural living things on a trail system and the utilization of an online camera system connected to natural areas in the community. The downloadable app can be used while walking down the trail where it utilizes global positioning mapping to show the user's location and the location of living features on the trail or from the comfort of a person’s home. 

1. Use technology to transform an existing nature trail into a sensory trail, using a free and downloadable app on Apple Play and Google Play stores (Ashley VanVurst Sensory Trail) to highlight natural “living” sensory features on the trail

2. Provide technology access to persons who do not have internet devices through an iPad lending library located at the Rieth Interpretative Center. 10 iPads are available typically from Monday-Thursday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm and Friday 8:00 am - 3:00 pm. Guests can call ahead to ensure open hours and availability (574) 534-0076.

3. Install three 24-hour nature cameras accessible to the public and those who are unable to go to nature. These are available on YouTube.


Why is this project important? This project provides safe access to all persons with disabilities to the psychological and physiological benefits of nature, physically or virtually, contrasted to the recent pandemic's confinement and lack of connection to the outside world. 

The City of Goshen partnered with ADEC, Inc. to develop this project for persons with disabilities who often struggle with the constraints of their disability, either physical or mental, to access natural spaces. This is even more injurious as the natural environment is a unique health affirming medicine that could improve their lives. Science has consistently documented the positive benefits of interacting with nature, including lower stress, better mood, increased concentration ability, and others. Persons with disabilities not only can be restricted from accessing the natural environment through physical accessibility issues but can be constrained by mental disabilities such as increased anxiety, depression, and sensory sensitivity that make it difficult for them to enter those spaces.

This project was designed to provide opportunities for safe, interactive outings for recreation or therapy for all persons with disabilities. It provides a background interface with information including, for example, length of the trail, location of the bathrooms, location of hazards, and location of benches for resting all mapped with the users location. It also allows users to select the sensory aspects or natural features that are most interesting or beneficial to them, while helping them to get outside and benefit from the positive physical changes that occur from being in the natural environment. 

What is the trail design? The Goshen trail system has 30 miles of trail with over 8 of those miles being in or beside natural areas. The project selected four of those miles that feature open, calm areas, water, and natural habitats to become the basis for the Ashley VanVurst Sensory Trail, learn, relax and engage the senses. Two miles traversed across the north side of the City (MapleHeart Trail) and two miles traversed north-south through the heart of the City (Millrace Trail). 

The goal was not to develop new spaces but to get residents to focus on and appreciate the natural habitat that already exists in Goshen. To that end, the Naturalist Team cataloged over 900 natural “living” sensory features, including over 600 unique features, already existing along the trail. They also logged hazards, rest areas, bathrooms, signs, bridges, and trail activities to create a database of information to go into the app. The City plans to continue to add to the database with community member participation. 

This project also included adding a few amenities to the trail to specifically provide activities and accommodations for persons with disabilities, including physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities and persons with mental health challenges. The trail design would need to stimulate sensory systems and include things that are tactile (touch), visual (sight), proprioceptive (body awareness), olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste), auditory (sound), and meditative. Many of these were already offered as a part of the features identified in the natural areas of the trail and are identified in the app. However, proprioceptive and meditative activities did not specifically exist on the nature trail.

ADEC, Inc. therapists identified a specific list of features that could provide these sensory stimuli and improve the experience for persons with disabilities. The additional items included a physical pathway or design where persons would be able to work on balance and coordination, an area with color and visual design, a handicapped-accessible swing, an area where herbs could be harvested and used in cooking, areas for relaxation or meditation, a water feature where people could hear moving water and possibly touch it, and a space where people could make their own music, such as chimes or drums.

Given the budget and the timeline, the following additional items were incorporated into the current design, interactive artwork paintings on the trail that provide recreational and body balance activities, a chalk-the-walk activity where the public has access to chalk to decorate walks, a catch a butterfly (insect) activity and net check-out, a wheelchair-accessible glider, an interactive pondless water feature, and meditation spots along the trails. 

The wheelchair-accessible glider is a feature that allows the entire family to participate. It was chosen for its safety rating and can be operated unsupervised as playground equipment. The pondless water feature was also designed with safety in mind. It uses biological filtration and was designed to allow interaction and “play.” It also serves those who want to just sit and enjoy the sound of the waterfalls.

How is the app designed?  The programming team, two senior Computer Science students from Goshen College with  their CS professor acting as a consultant to the project, used the database and created a free downloadable app (Apple Play and Google Play) to connect users to the sensory features along the trail. The app allows users to select the types of features they would like to see (insects, flora, fauna, fish, bacteria/fungi, amphibians, reptiles, mammals) or the senses they would like to use (see, hear, smell, touch, taste). The app then populates a GPS map with the user's selections but limits the number of total selections populated on the map to four per two-tenths of a mile to keep the person walking and exploring the trail. It also randomizes the selections so the user has a unique experience every time. 

The app acts as the portal to the sensory trail. The 900+ currently identified features are not identified on the trail itself. The app leads the user to the feature using an integrated GPS map where the selected features and trail amenities are displayed. The user is led to within ten feet of the feature, or where a living thing was found (mammals, amphibians, or others), where the user must look for the feature given the clues in the app. The app provides pictures, a description, a video, and sometimes an audio recording (birds, amphibians). 

The app was designed to provide a “safe” platform for persons with disabilities and especially sensory sensitivities to enjoy being outside. It was designed utilizing a calm (neutral) color palette, providing warnings of potential hazards (zone alerts), including areas of road hazards, uneven surfaces, areas of extensive poison ivy, or the existence of poison hemlock for example. The zone alerts can be easily updated to accommodate changing conditions on the trail. Other accessibility features include the ability to enlarge font sizes, enlarge or pop-out photos, high contrast color scheme, and the ability to utilize the device’s Voiceover accessibility features to read content to those who are visually impaired or unable to read. 

The app features professional artwork and uses positive or neutral sensory colors including green, teal blue, blue, purple, black, and white. Brighter colors such as yellow and orange are muted or used in limited ways. Bright pink with a yellow exclamation mark stands out and denotes hazards in each zone, where applicable. Red is not used on the app for any application.

The app is designed to be easily updated. The City has complete access to the database. Changes to the database are updated in real-time within the app. The app was also written with the intent for the code (not artwork) to be shared with other communities that might be interested in a similar app. The City plans to continue to add to the database with community volunteers both by adding features and including additional pictures and information.


Ashley VanVurst Sensory Trail Sensory Trail App

Terms of Use Agreement

Welcome to the Ashley VanVurst Sensory Trail Sensory Trail App (“Sensory Trail App”) brought to you by the City of Goshen, Indiana, (“City”). The Sensory Trail App will provide a guided sensory experience that will assist users to learn, relax and engage the senses through touching, smelling, seeing, hearing, and tasting the world around them while enjoying the four miles of public trails with natural habitats.   

This Sensory Trail App is made available to you by the City and subject to the following Terms of Use.  By accessing, using or downloading the Sensory Trail App, you agree to follow and be bound by these Terms of Use.  If you do not agree with the Terms of Use please do not use the Sensory Trail App.  By continuing to use the Sensory Trail App, you are indicating your agreement to the Terms of Use and all revisions thereof. 

 The City reserves the right at any time to modify or discontinue the Sensory Trail App or any portion thereof with or without notice.  You agree that the City shall not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Sensory Trail App or any portion thereof. 

This document is a legal agreement between you and the City.

Terms & Conditions.

The City has published the information contained in the Sensory Trail App for informational purposes only. You may search, view, and download information contained in this Sensory Trail App for personal and non-commercial purposes only which is provided "as is" without any warranty of any kind.

Non-Commercial Use. 

You agree not to use the Sensory Trail App, or any of its content, including but not limited to art, descriptions, photos, etc., for commercial purpose or for any illegal, unlawful, inappropriate, or unauthorized purpose or activity.   You further agree that any artwork owned and copyrighted by Mark Daniels’ Arts cannot be downloaded or used for commercial purpose or for any illegal, unlawful, inappropriate, or unauthorized purpose or activity or for any other purposes.

Trail Use and Volunteer Disclaimer

I understand that trail use can be a hazardous activity that has risks, including injury or death resulting for accident or physical exertion. I agree, as a consideration of, an in consideration for being permitted to use the Sensory Trail App and any third-party content provided herein, to freely and expressly assume and accept any and all risks of injury or death.

I understand that if I choose to voluntarily collect trail data in support of the City's mapping initiative; I do so of my own accord and not at the direction of the City. I release and forever discharge and hold harmless the City from any claim or liability arising from my participation in this initiative.

Disclaimer of Warranty and Liability.

The City and its employees make no warranty, expressed or implied, and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy of the data contained in the Sensory Trail App including but not limited to offline map data made available for download to users.  The City has attempted to verify the accuracy of the GIS and trail data, however, the GIS data or trail data contained in the Sensory Trail App may contain inaccuracies or omissions and should in no way be used as a legal description.

The Sensory Trail App is provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind either expressed or implied.  The City, and its officers, employees, agents, partners, licensors and suppliers, disclaim all warranties, expressed or implied including but not limited to implied warranties or merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement of proprietary rights.

The City, its officers, employees, agents, partners, licensors and suppliers do not warrant that the Sensory Trail App will be uninterrupted or error-free, that defects will be corrected, or that the Sensory Trail App servers are virus free.  Additionally, the City and its suppliers and partners do not warrant or make any representation regarding the use or the results of the use of any personal information or location information or the Sensory Trail App in terms of security, safety, correctness, accuracy, reliability or otherwise.  You assume the cost of any necessary service, repair, or correction related to the Sensory Trail App.

Limitation of Liability.

You acknowledge and agree that under no circumstances, including without limitation, including negligence, will the City, its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, employees, agents, partners, licensors and suppliers be liable to you for any damages related to or resulting from:  1) the use, display or maintenance of a user’s personal information 2) your ability or inability to use the Sensory Trail App 3) the Sensory Trail App generally 4) any other interaction with  the City or the Sensory Trail App. 

Without limiting the foregoing, under no circumstances shall the City be held liable for any delay or failure in performance resulting directly or indirectly from acts of nature, forces, or causes beyond its reasonable control. 

Applicable law may not allow the limitation of liability or damages.  Accordingly, the exclusions and limitations set forth above may not apply in their entirety to you, however, you agree that the City's liability will be limited to the extent permitted by law.

Ownership and Proprietary Rights.

The Sensory Trail App is owned and operated by the City. You acknowledge and agree that this Sensory Trail App, contains proprietary and confidential information that is protected by applicable intellectual property and other laws. Except as expressly permitted by applicable law or authorized by the City, you agree not to modify, rent, lease, loan, sell, distribute or create derivative works based on the Sensory Trail App, the software or any content offered as part of the Sensory Trail App (other than User Content as that term is defined below), in whole or in part. 

The City grants you a personal, non-transferable and non-exclusive license to access and use the Sensory Trail App; provided that you do not (and do not allow any third party to) copy, modify, create a derivative work from, reverse engineer, reverse assemble or otherwise attempt to discover any source code, sell, assign, sublicense, grant a security interest in or otherwise transfer any right in the Sensory Trail App. You agree not to access the Sensory Trail App by any means other than through the interface that is provided by the City for use in accessing the Sensory Trail App without the express written consent of the City.


The information contained in the Sensory Trail App is the exclusive property of the City and any respective copyright owners. The content, code, design and graphics of this site may not be published, posted, reproduced or redistributed by third-parties without the express written consent of the City.


The term Ashley VanVurst Sensory Trail along with the respective logs and names of the specific Sensory Trail App are the exclusive trademarks of the City and you may not use or display such trademarks in any matter without the City's prior written permission.

Changes to this Agreement.

The City reserves the right to revise this Agreement. Your use of the site implies your consent and understanding of the current terms of this agreement.

Contacting the City of Goshen.

If you have any questions about this Agreement please contact:

The City of Goshen

Attn: Sensory Trail

410 W. Plymouth Ave

Goshen, IN  46528

Developed by City of Goshen

Privacy Policy

City of Goshen, Indiana built the Ashley VanVurst Sensory Trail app as a Free app. This SERVICE is provided by City of Goshen, Indiana at no cost and is intended for use as is.

This page is used to inform visitors regarding our policies with the collection, use, and disclosure of Personal Information if anyone decided to use our Service.

The terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, which are accessible above unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy.

Information Collection and Use

While using our Service, we do not collect personally identifiable information.

The app does use third-party services that may collect information used to identify you.

Link to the privacy policy of third-party service providers used by the app

Log Data

We want to inform you that whenever you use our Service, in a case of an error in the app we collect data and information (through third-party products) on your phone called Log Data. This Log Data may include information such as your device Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, device name, operating system version, the configuration of the app when utilizing our Service, the time and date of your use of the Service, and other statistics.


The Ashley VanVurst Sensory Trail app does not use Cookies.

Service Providers

We may employ third-party companies and individuals due to the following reasons:

  • To facilitate our Service;
  • To provide the Service on our behalf;
  • To perform Service-related services; or
  • To assist us in analyzing how our Service is used.

We want to inform users of this Service that these third parties have access to their Personal Information. The reason is to perform the tasks assigned to them on our behalf. However, they are obligated not to disclose or use the information for any other purpose.

Links to Other Sites

This Service may contain links to other sites. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that site. Note that these external sites are not operated by us. Therefore, we strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of these websites. We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third-party sites or services.

Changes to This Privacy Policy

We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. Thus, you are advised to review this page periodically for any changes. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

This policy is effective as of 2021-11-29

Contact Us

If you have any questions or suggestions about our Privacy Policy, do not hesitate to contact us at

This privacy policy page was created at and modified/generated by App Privacy Policy Generator