Access Nature Motive-ating News
The national movement for parks and open spaces to expand adaptive programs and services.
By Sean Kane-HollandDecember 27, 2022
Greetings to the Access Nature community!
I wanted to take this time to put out a blog post regarding a very exciting, intriguing, and encouraging news article I recently read from the Washington Post called, Free all-terrain wheelchairs are appearing in more states and parks. It seems it is an endeavor taking the nation by storm! It’s sensational to see like-minded folks from all over the country actively seeking ways to provide access to nature for those with disabilities and mobility concerns.
The topic of this article is all-terrain wheelchairs making their appearance in the equipment and service capacities of state parks throughout the nation. The enthusiasm has even made its way to the National Parks! In particular, the article highlighted the recent addition of adaptive equipment and services in the states of Georgia, South Dakota, and Minnesota as well as earlier progress made in Colorado. Each state has begun developing and implementing its own program with parameters for reservation systems and requirements to participate in these services.
We here at the PPA are intrigued by these efforts and thus, are also in the process of navigating the waters of identifying and obtaining adaptive equipment. This is all in the hopes of providing similar services and including the disabled community who want to enjoy the valuable physical, mental, and spiritual contributions the outdoors has to offer us. The abilities of some of this adaptive equipment are astounding – capable of traversing some of the most difficult topography. They navigate uphill climbs, over rocks, roots, water networks, fallen timber, and most importantly for our region — sand.
These developing programs should inspire us all – and we should be looking to these developments as a guide to develop and initiate similar programs here in the Pinelands. It is truly amazing what we can accomplish when the public and private sectors unite for a common goal. Expanding these kinds of services to parks and public open spaces gives these individuals a sense of independence that many who are not in the same situation take for granted. This equipment is a means to level the playing ground so to speak. Providing folks with the opportunity to have a memorable and immersive experience in nature.
If you, like me, find this intriguing and want to see something similar in our state, then I urge you to write and petition your local, county, and state officials; letting them know what you as tax-paying citizens would like to see done. It will not be a simple or cheap task and will require dedication, fundraising, and all-around collaboration.
Our collective voices are among the most effective weapons in our arsenal as advocates. So let your voices be heard!
To learn more about the Pinelands is for Everyone project or get involved email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.