MARINETTE, Wis. – The Marinette County Aging and Disability Center and the Marinette County Parks Department will host Wheel Hike Together, an adaptive hiking event at Thunder Mountain Overlook, October 4-9.
Wheel Hike Together participants and their companions can reserve Access Ability Wisconsin’s all-terrain outdoor wheelchairs in hourly increments, to explore the park’s trails and scenic views.
Instead of wheels, the battery-powered OWCs run on a track system and offer a placement option for a companion to control the chair. These chairs can go where traditional wheelchairs cannot.
Provide access to these “hiking boots” allows anyone living with a physical disability to enjoy the dignity and freedom to enjoy the great outdoors with family and friends. It has a tilt function to help the rider level the seat of the chair. There is no charge to reserve an AAW chair; however, regular park entrance fees apply.
“We are thrilled to partner with the ADRC of Marinette County to provide accessibility on the park’s trails for people who may not have the mobility to navigate them,” commented Marinette County Parks and Facilities Manager Martin Keyport. “It’s a great opportunity for families and friends to include loved ones on a fall hike.”
“Freedom and independence is what most people with reduced mobility say after using one of AAW’s outdoor wheelchairs. The ability to use these “hiking shoes” with loved ones while accessing the outdoors is one of the most important comments repeated by customers,” explains Monica Spaeni, president of AAW. “We are thrilled the Marinette County Parks Department is taking these steps to include all abilities in its programming.”
AAW chairs will be available by reservation only. No residency requirement applies. Participants requiring care must be accompanied by an attendant. Registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis by visiting ExploreMarinetteCounty.com.
Limited amounts of support equipment such as seat belt extenders, vests and headrest will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring required care equipment, including transfer equipment. All transfers must be made by companions; event staff will not be available to assist you.
Thunder Mountain is located about 20 miles northwest of Crivitz, Wisconsin and offers nearly three miles of well-marked, mown hiking trails and scenic views of western Marinette County. During Wheel Hike Together, the park will remain open to other park visitors. Thunder Mountain is one of the stops on the Marinette County Fall Colors Tour.
AAW outdoor wheelchairs are provided courtesy of Access Ability Wisconsin and Options for Independent Living. AAW is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide the means to access outdoor recreation opportunities for people living with temporary or permanent mobility problems, by promoting access, inclusion, l fairness and a healthy lifestyle. Visit www.AccessAbilityWI.org for more information, to see them in action, or to find AAW network locations statewide.
Options for Independent Living is a non-profit organization committed to empowering people with disabilities to lead independent and productive lives in their communities through advocacy, information provision, education, technology and related services. The organization serves 17 counties in northeastern Wisconsin, including Marinette County. More information can be found at optionsil.org.
Day passes to Marinette County parks are $5 and are available at self-serve stations located at park entrances.
Annual or daily passes can also be purchased online at marinettecounty.com/parks/.
For more information or to reserve an off-road chair for Wheel Hike Together, go to ExploreMarinetteCounty.com.