The US has many wonderful national parks with plenty of great accessible features. The problem is that it’s not always easy to work out what’s accessible and what’s not from the parks’ websites. The Access 2 Parks Project, sponsored by wheelchairtraveling.com is being launched this May in an effort to solve this problem.
Access 2 Parks
The project will begin with a two-week trek with the purpose of documenting the accessibility features of Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky (pictured); Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio; and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
The problem with the information given by many of the parks is that it is incomplete or not detailed enough for wheelchair users. Some parks will state that they have an accessible trail but neglect to give details on how long the trail is, whether it’s graded or even whether any bathroom facilities are available. The aim of project is to enable travelers with limited mobility to plan trips to parks secure in the knowledge that their destination meets their own individual accessibility needs. Each park selected for the project will receive assistance from wheelchairtraveling.com to update the access information on their website and promotional literature.
It’s hoped that the Access 2 Parks Project team will visit as many as 15 national parks over the next few years together with a number of local and state parks. Each destination will be surveyed for the number of trails, length and grade of those trails, surfaces, overlook access, site access, accessible accommodation, accessible restrooms and much more.
The organisation was founded in 2006 by Ashley Lyn Olson. Olsen was paralyzed at the age of 14 following a car accident but has always been a lover of the great outdoors and adventure. She has not allowed her disability to prevent her from exploring and travelling all over the world.
The website aims to share the travel knowledge Olsen has accumulated with all disabled travelers, and provides them with the tools they will need to plan their own adventure trip. The website is packed with tips and advice from wheelchair users all over the world. If you’d like to be a part of the Access 2 Parks Project, check out the information on the website and get in touch with the team.
The national parks offer the traveler with a disability the opportunity to discover many hidden gems – if only people knew they were accessible! As a result of the Access 2 Parks Project, many more wheelchair users will be able to confidently plan a trip to the great outdoors.
Image source: thousandwonders.net