Monday, August 12, 2013

Dunn State Park - Great Park for Access!

Perfect weather for the ADA celebration!
The Massachusetts Statewide Independent Living Council (MASILC) just held a 23rd Anniversary Celebration of the Americans With Disabilities Act at Dunn State Park in Gardner on August 2nd

Dunn State Park is a 130 acre day use facility with a 20 acre pond, shaded picnic tables, wooded trails, waterfront swimming area, fishing docks, play area and clean indoor restrooms in the Pond House. It is a beautiful spot just north of downtown Gardner on Route 101 in north central Massachusetts. Every activity people come to the park to do is wheelchair accessible!

Kayakers on Dunn Pond celebrate the ADA. 
For many years now, when MASILC organizes their ADA day, the DCR Universal Access Program offers kayaking and hiking as recreational activities to help people celebrate their rights in the great outdoors. This year about 150 people attended the annual event and many enjoyed getting out on the water and trail as well as partaking in the free catered lunch and listening to speakers and the Tommy Filiault Band. The weather was perfect!

Thanks to the staff at Dunn State Park for all their support of this event on site, and to the staff of All Out Adventures and Stavros Outdoor Access for facilitating the activities. If you missed the event, watch for it next year on the MASILC website. It usually takes place on or near July 26. 

DCR interpreter Gini Traub assists on a hike.
And don’t forget Dunn Park! The Pond House is open year round and offers public programs. Private canoes and non-motorized boats are allowed on the pond. In the winter the trails are open for cross country skiing, ice skating is allowed on the pond and often there is a fire blazing in the visitors centers fireplace. 

DCR’s Universal Access Programs continue through the summer! Now is the time to get out and play! More opportunities you won’t want to miss out on include:

Adaptive Canoeing – Hampton Ponds – Westfield – Tuesdays - August 20 and 27
Adaptive Cycling – Manhan Rail Trail – Easthampton – Fridays - August 16, 23 and 30
Adaptive Cycling – Artesani Park – Brighton – Thursdays - September 12 and 19

For a list of seasonal hikes and other programs offered by DCR's Universal Access Program click here!

1 comment:

Marcy Marchello said...

David Whitenett sent in the following comment!

My wife and I recently took part in the ADA celebration that was held at Dunn Pond Park in Gardner. This is a jewel of a place. After arriving and checking in, we enjoyed a walk in the woods on an ADA accessible trail. The group that we walked with had a great time with experiencing the woodlands. Within a couple of minutes of starting the hike, I started to notice a change in myself; I became more relaxed and more centered. There is something about walking in the woods surrounded by ferns and wildflowers under the shade of all the trees that I find very calming, one of the highlights of my walk in the woods was finding a couple of Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants just off the trail. This is a native wildflower.

After a terrific BBQ lunch and visiting with some friends, we enjoyed a kayaking experience. With the help of at least three or four assistants, I was transferred out of my power wheelchair into a two-person kayak. My assistants found some creative ways to help me to get into a stable seating position inside the kayak. My wife was in another kayak alongside, and we joined a group of other people to make a tour of the pond. Once we started moving, I found the gentle waves of the pond surface and our movement in the kayak to be very relaxing. I was able to pay attention to what I could see and hear all around me-sunlight reflecting off the surface of the pond, gentle breezes, the sounds of birds in the area, etc. It became kind of a nature meditation for a while.