Summer is coming – time to make plans
All too often we are banging the doors down forcing our way into places—or having to go as far as litigation to get people to follow laws passed more than two decades ago to make things accessible. It was my delight this past week to speak to a park ranger named Barry Sweet. He had called me a week earlier reaching out to CCDC because there was a beautiful fully accessible back country campsite that had been made fully accessible and that was not being used. Often when this happens people assume we are not interested. They assume if we do not immediately use something that making it accessible was a waste of effort and money. However this ranger did not make that assumption but correctly deduced that our community simply did not know about this site. He wanted to reach the disability community to let us know about it and asked for my help.
He described this property—about a half mile from a parking lot on hard gravel, the kind you can roll a chair through. The camp site is right by a beautiful lake, has an accessible picnic table and other camping accessories.
You have to bring a tent and sleeping bags or you can reserve the place for the day. It sounded so good that I hesitated to ask what the cost was---my false assumptions is that this might be one more of those wonderful outdoor opportunities that might be accessible, albeit out of reach to many of us on the lower side of the income range. When he said $20 dollars I was even more impressed, and not just $20 a night but $20 even if you stay more than one night. I told him that we would get the word out – and he was even kind enough to send me these pictures.
He said he wanted to do whatever it took to make our community feel welcome in the outdoor environment, he even offered to come and do “ranger talks” for a small group. This place seems amazing and beautiful and offers the experience of being in the real back country but in a manner accessible even to those of us who use power chairs. It was enough to make this city girl want to get out in the country and have this experience and I consider roughing it not having room service!!
It is only an hour or so from Boulder. Nothing improves mental health more than returning to nature and having a day or two away from the noise and pressure of everyday life. Ranger Sweet has made sure that non-disabled people do not take over this idyllic retreat –despite repeated requests. So—now this the time to make reservations for this summer. To make a reservation or if you have questions call the Backcountry Office of Rocky Mountain National Park at (970) 586-1242.