With a mobility vehicle, the world is your oyster. Maneuvering is swift and easy on busy streets and in quiet suburbs; parks are no exception. The National Parks Service is a great agency and resource, abiding by the Americans with Disabilities Act (and other laws) while advocating for accessible trails for all. For accessibility, it helps to know what types of trails there are to ensure a successful visit.
And with free entrance days coming up February 14 through 16, 2015, as well as and the rest of the year, you’ll want to know how to plan the best trip. (Note that only entrance fees are waived and others will still be in effect.)
Wheelchair Accessible Trails
Accessible trails are newly constructed and/or altered to be up to federal accessibility guidelines. Multiuse trails, or shared use paths, are designed for pedestrian, bicycle and non-motorized wheeled use, such as wheelchairs. Multiuse trails can also be accessible trails. Knowing what kind of trails to ask and look for is useful when planning a trip with your wheelchair accessible car. If your car is not yet equipped, NMEDA can help. Simply check out our how to buy guide and locate your nearest NMEDA mobility equipment dealer.
Accessible National Parks
If you’re planning on traveling for Free Entrance Day, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona would be a treat to experience. In addition to the option of renting out a wheelchair, you can go on a wheelchair accessible tour. If you’re farther north, Olympic National Park in Washington has paved trails and ramps for a pleasant park experience. If you needed to take a break, the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center has great exhibits too. A park truly unlike any other, Great Sand Dunes National Park offers sand wheelchairs especially designed for over-sand movement. No need to worry about being unable to do activities—this park offers many accessible trails along with a shaded picnic area.
Find a national park near you in time for Free Entrance Day to appreciate the great outdoors. Through accessible trails, ramps and your mobility vehicle, you can take a fresh breath this February. But, if you do miss out this month, be sure to take your handicap van to a park another time this year.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.