The palette of fall foliage at Oak Mountain State Park ranges from deep greens to warm reds to bright yellows. With the recent installation of color corrective lenses by EnChroma on two viewfinders at the park’s Peavine Falls overlook, the vibrant fall display of Double Oak Mountain can now be enjoyed by those with red-green color blindness.
Kelly Ezell, North Region Operations Supervisor for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) State Parks Division, learned about the EnChroma lenses while attending a state parks conference in Tennessee earlier this year.
“I immediately knew Oak Mountain was the perfect location to install them,” she said. “We recently installed an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible viewfinder at the Peavine Falls overlook. This was an ideal opportunity to expand our inclusion efforts for those with color blindness.”
In addition to enhancing the experience of viewing fall color for those with red-green color blindness, the viewfinders are available to view wildflowers and other blooming plants year-round. The experience of using the viewfinders is different for everyone with color deficiency vision. Most viewers will see a wider spectrum and greater vibrancy of colors. Some park visitors will have a more dramatic experience than others, depending on the level of their color blindness.
Installing the EnChroma lenses at Peavine Falls overlook was made possible through a partnership between Oak Mountain State Park, the Alabama State Parks Foundation and the Delta Gamma Alumnae Group of Birmingham, Alabama. Delta Gamma raised the funds for the lenses at Oak Mountain and the Alabama State Parks Foundation facilitated the project.
“The partnership was initiated through a conversation with my sister Lauren Massey, Oak Mountain’s Park Naturalist,” said Brittany Muncher with Delta Gamma. “Oak Mountain wanted to expand accessibility within the park, including installing the color corrective lenses. I’d recently been elected as Vice President of Foundation for the alumnae board and was looking for a project that would benefit the community and reflect our Service for Sight philanthropy. We immediately knew this was the perfect project for both Delta Gamma and Oak Mountain State Park.”
Delta Gamma's Service for Sight program advocates for those who are blind or visually impaired throughout the country. The program offers aid to the blind and promotes sight preservation, awareness and conservation.
“We are grateful for Delta Gamma's partnership on this project,” Ezell said. “We have staff members at Oak Mountain who are color blind. It has been a truly emotional experience for them to use the new lenses. We are excited to make this technology available to our park guests.”
Approximately one in 12 men are color blind. For women, that number is one in 200. There are more than 300 million people worldwide with color blindness, including 13 million in the U.S. The majority of people with the condition are red-green color blind – 98%. People with normal color vision see more than 1 million shades of color. Those with color blindness can see as few as 1% of the normal range, causing colors to appear muted. Common color confusions include pink and gray, purple and blue, and red and green can appear brown.
For more information about the EnChroma lenses, including photos illustrating the differences between normal color vision and color deficiency vision, visit enchroma.com.
Learn more about Delta Gamma and the Service for Sight program at deltagamma.org.
About Oak Mountain State Park
From its humble beginning as a 940-acre park atop Double Oak Mountain established by the Alabama State Lands Act of 1927, Oak Mountain State Park has grown to 11,584 acres making it Alabama’s largest state park. With the largest land area, one of the widest varieties of outdoor activities of any state park, and its proximity to Birmingham, Oak Mountain is a perfect stop while traveling to and from the state’s largest city. Topping it all off is the park’s stunning physical landscape, which alone makes for an unforgettable experience. Learn more about Oak Mountain State Park at alapark.com.
ADCNR promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Learn more at outdooralabama.com.