Friday, July 27, 2012

Celebrating the ADA with Outdoor Recreation!

Yesterday's 22nd Annual Celebration of the ADA at Dunn Pond State Park in Gardner, MA was another fantastic day! Threatening weather forecasts did not stop the Massachusetts Statewide Independent Living Council from conducting their popular event which included a free catered meal on the green and wonderful live music. DCR's Universal Access Program provided kayaking and trails experiences. The rain and storms held off, the sun came out, and over 150 people enjoyed a meaningful day commemorating the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I especially noticed a lot of people were discovering they could enjoy kayaking and getting out on a woodland trail when previously they had not thought this was possible or something they would enjoy. Some people with severe disabilities were well bolstered with padding in the front of a kayak while someone paddled and steered in the back seat.

Other individuals were able to use unique hand adaptations to help them paddle independently on the gentle waters of the pond. Our rugged hiking wheelchairs allowed those who are challenged by walking to get further into the woods with less effort on a smooth trail, supported by team members. Out on the trail, people enjoyed nature interpretation and following clues to find letterboxes (hidden boxes that contain stamps to commemorate an outing).

All in all, it was a great experience, enjoyed and appreciated by not just those who came to attend, but by the park staff and those who worked hard to organize the event. Such opportunities should not be seen as a once-a-year event.  Summer is not over! We have programs going on in a variety of parks through August! Space is still available in many programs so please don't hesitate to call, find out more, and sign up for more outdoor summer fun!

Here's a list of upcoming recreation opportunities: Don't miss out!!!

Kayaking at Douglas State Forest (on the Rhode Island border) - 2 days left: Thursdays, August 2 and 9.
Kayaking at Regatta Point, Quinsigamond State Park, Worcester - 2 dates: Thursdays, August 16 and 23.
Canoeing at Hampton Ponds State Park (near Springfield) - 3 dates: Tuesdays: August 7, 14, and 21. Call All Out Adventures at 413-527-8980 for the above 3 programs!

Kayaking at Hopkinton State Park in Hopkinton (out the outskirts of Boston) - 3 dates: Thursdays: August 2, 9, and 16. Call 508-435-3965 to sign up! Families are especially welcome!

Upcoming Hiking Programs:
Walden Pond State Reservation (in Concord, outside Boston): Thursday, August 2
Robinson State Park (in Agawam, near Springfield): August 28
Boston Harbor Islands ferry ride and hike: September 6
Chicopee State Park, (in Chicopee, near Springfield): September 13

Call Stavros Outdoor Access at 413-259-0009! Hiking programs continue through October!

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