Access for people with disabilities
by Dan Kleen, President, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), Karen Umphress, Owner, UP! Outside
Access for people with disabilities has been a topic of increased interest over the past decade. With the new guidelines regarding other power driven mobility devices, the topic has come to the forefront in many areas. However, there are groups who have been working with the disabled for years, and there are programs that have been designed to introduce the disabled or re-introduce our wounded veterans to trail systems that they can utilize without any special requirements. This presentation will showcase some of these programs.
It likely comes as little surprise that our trails community does not currently include the full spectrum of people it could. Charles Thomas, executive director of Outward Bound Adventures, is the Obi Wan of JEDI Trail Knights with 40 years of experience bringing more diversity to our trails. At the 2019 International Trails Symposium he spoke about the understanding and motivation to help make trails a transformative place for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.
The 3-mile long Kalaupapa Trail is the only access point in and out of the remote community of Kalaupapa on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. When a land-slide took out an old aluminum bridge, cutting off this access point, park officials looked to an FRP bridge for its light weight, corrosion resistance, and design flexibility.
Trails are invaluable assets to any community, and when it comes to procuring funding, building coalitions, providing the best trail access, and more, trail research is one of the best tools available for showing that worth.
Before you go on any outdoor adventures you need to ask yourself these questions to confirm if your plans are safe and appropriate.